Norwegians who worked in Murmansk were contacted as potential informants for the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST). The Mayor of South Varanger responded to what he thought was a dangerous practice.
With the Frode Berg case as a backdrop, Mayor Rune Rafaelsen of Arbeiderpartiet (Ap) spoke of events he took up eight to nine years ago. He experienced then that PST sought ongoing recruitment in the region, wrote Aftenposten newspaper.
“Within a short space of time, I received complaints from two Norwegian citizens who had jobs in Murmansk, that the PST had contacted them and asked them to ‘assist’ with services and information about Norwegian-Russian relations,” he said.
Rafaelsen contacted the management at the then Eastern Finnmark police district in Kirkenes. On another occasion, he complained to a PST employee in another, unnamed police district.
“I pointed out that the PST operation was meaningless and directly dangerous to the Norwegians. If Russian authorities had seen or understood what was happening, this could put these people in a dangerous situation,” he said.
Senior adviser, Martin Berntsen, of PST commented on the criticism by saying that the job of PST is to draw the most accurate threat picture.
“To do that we must talk to people. We did that ten years ago, we do it today, and we will continue to do it. Regarding what may have happened in southern Varanger ten years ago,I have no comment on it” said Berntsen.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today