Although PST Chief Benedicte Bjørnland clearly brushed aside the possibility of a Russian invasion, she nevertheless ventured Russia was doing preparatory work that could inflict serious damage to Norwegian security.
Bjørnland identified the possibility of clandestine intelligence activities as the greatest source of concern. According to the recent threat assessment by PST, Russia and other foreign powers were allegedly working to obtain information about three main fields: defense and emergency sector, political decision-making and key infrastructure, especially in power and communications sector. According to Bjørnland, the illegal mapping performed by foreign powers has the potential to unsettle Norway's security.
According to Bjørnland, PST gets an increasing amount of messages from individuals and business who believe they have been subjected to illegal intelligence activities. The recent report identified China and Russia as trying to break into computer systems of large companies that are of key importance for Norway's economy. By Bjørnland's estimation, the intelligence pressure has been rising for years until finally reaching a particularly negative level with a potential to harm Norway.
Despite this verbose side note, Islamist extremism is still believed to be the biggest threat to Norway, with both Daesh [ISIL/ISIS] and al-Qaeda are still considering Norway as a legitimate target for terrorist attacks, although not a priority one.
"The terrorist threat against European countries has never been greater than today," PST Chief Benedicte Bjørnland told NRK.
Meanwhile, former chief of the Norwegian Intelligence Service Kjell Grandhagen (in office in 2010-2016) admitted in a recent interview with Norwegian daily Dagbladet that he was more concerned about USA than he previously was about Russia or the Middle East.
In January, Norway welcomed a rotational force of 300 US Marines to protect the Nordic nation from "Russian aggression," thus violating its long-standing policy of not allowing foreign forces on its territory.
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