The EOS committee strongly criticizes PST

Head PST, Benedicte Bjønland EOS CommitteeHead of PST, Benedicte Bjønland. Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

The EOS committee strongly criticizes PST in its annual report

The EOS Committee (Intelligence, Surveillance and Security) writes in its annual report that the Police Security Service (PST) has broken the law in a large proportion of cases.

Leader of the committee, Eldbjørg Løwer, handed over the annual report to Parliamentary President Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen on Wednesday. It emerges in the report that PST, in a large proportion of cases, has submitted information to the clearance authorities orally manner without written documentation.

Furthermore, the Committee points out that PST, in one case, has registered information on political involvement and handed it to a trusted authority. This is forbidden and the committee criticized the service.

The committee has also criticized PST for obtaining a chat log on an illegal basis.

The Norwegian Parliament’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Security Control Committee (EOS Committee) are tasked with conducting an independent check on whether the secret services are in compliance with rules and regulations, especially to prevent individuals from being subject to illegal surveillance.

Trust meetings

Information provided by PST about just under twenty persons from 2015 to 2017 has been reviewed. In addition, the committee has examined what information the service has registered about these, and how the clearance authority has processed the information.

The committee believes that the service has routinely provided that meetings with the clearance authority be held if the service has “more details than what is stated in the letter or that the section wishes to clarify the information that is submitted”.

In half of the cases investigated by the committee, PST conducted meetings with the clearance authority.

“This probably means that the disclosure of information in meetings happens to a greater extent than what PST described in its reply to us. We believe that good reasons indicate that personal control information should be disclosed in writing,” the committee writes.

PST has stated that the service could with advantage provide more information in writing to the clearance authority in individual cases. The service has also stated that the documentation of which personal control information was provided in meetings has not been satisfactory.

The service has sharpened the practice, the committee notes.

Intelligence Service

The Intelligence Service is also subject to criticism. They believed they had the authority to go through information that originated from communication between persons in Norway, even though it was illegally collected. The committee concludes that the Intelligence Service is not allowed to do that.

The reason why the committee asked about this was that they first had the impression that The Intelligence service had heard through content that was illegally collected and which was discussed in the annual report for 2017. Afterwards, the Service informed that they had not listened to the content of this case.

Furthermore, the committee writes that there is a reason to doubt the legality of The Intelligence Service obtaining of information from open sources about Norwegian persons while they are staying in Norway.

The report also deals with the notifier’s role. Here, the Committee believes that the protection of whistleblowers should be considered regulated in the EOS Control Act and possibly also in the service regulations.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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1 Comment on "The EOS committee strongly criticizes PST"

  1. Joakim Haugen | 28. March 2019 at 11:03 |

    Benedicte Bjønland should be fired, that is the only way PST can regain any form of credibility.

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