Norway denies NSA surveillance but admits to monitoring phone calls

Published: 4:03 AM, November 21, 2013
Updated: 5:45 PM, November 22, 2013

Norway carries out surveillance on millions of phone calls in conflict areas around the world and shares that data with its allies, including the United States, the country’s military chief has admitted.

Lieutenant-General Kjell Grandhagen made the statement on Tuesday in response to a story in the tabloid Dagbladet, which reported that 33 million Norwegian phone calls had been monitored by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Lt-Gen Grandhagen vigorously denied the story.

“We had to correct that picture because we know that this in fact is not about surveillance in Norway or against Norway, but about the Norwegian intelligence effort abroad,” he said.

He stressed that his agency’s actions were legal under the Norwegian law since the surveillance was based on suspicion of terrorism-related activity and that potential targets could include Norwegian citizens abroad.

He added that his intelligence agency had absolutely no indication that the NSA was spying on Norwegians.

In a tweet, Mr Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist who originally revealed the NSA surveillance programme based on leaks from Edward Snowden, said another document related to Norwegian spying was due to be published yesterday.

Mr Greenwald had worked with Dagbladet on the story that appeared on Tuesday. AP