According to the document, published by the Intercept on 29 May, NSA officials met with leaders of NIS at their annual policy conference in April 2005 to discuss an array of mutual interests. These interests included support for the Norwegian Special Operations Forces deploying to Afghanistan and Kosovo, the development of mutual technical forces and identifying “strengths and weaknesses on the Russia target.”
“One highlight of the conference was a decision to begin, in earnest, cooperation on Russian civil targets,” says the newsletter, adding that the NSA had provided Norwegian spies with a “Russia posture paper” with an overview of the target.
At the time of the NSA and NIS meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin had recently secured his second term in elections the previous year and was consolidating his domestic power. Months earlier at an international summit in Slovakia, US President George W. Bush and Putin had agreed to continue an open dialogue on finding ways to better integrate their commercial energy sectors.
The Russian energy sector was also a focal point for NSA and Norwegian intelligence officials, who discussed targeting Russia’s “Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oil and Gas Developments, Leadership, and Strategic Highlights from the Northern Region.”
Other leaked documents also revealed intel from the NSA newsletters. One of the newsletters dated October 2016 suggested that Israeli military officials used private channels to pressure their American counterparts in the National Security Agency for intelligence to help assassinate Hezbollah operatives during the 2006 war.
Another document dated June 2006 describes the responses to the Russian Kursk submarine accident, revealing that the NSA and its counterpart the Norwegian Intelligence Service knew about the disaster, stating: “Three and a half hours passed before any [Russian] suspicion of problems on board OSCAR II 850 arose.” Another report in the batch reveals how a US intelligence mapping system made European allies complicit in targeted killings in Afghanistan and was later deployed on the US-Mexico border.