Religious extremism is considered to be the biggest terrorist threat, but illegal foreign intelligence acivities by countries like Russia and China are also regarded as an increasing threat to Norway.
Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) today presented this year’s threat assessment for Norway. Religious extremism posseses a lesser threat than before, but is still considered the biggest threat to Norway.
In addition, especially Russia’s intelligence activities has a great harm potential for Norway, according to PST. Other countries, like China, were also mentioned as potential players which can be involved in undesirable and harmful activities against Norwegian interests.
PST suggests that foreign intelligence tries to get information about Norwegian interests by recruiting sources and hacking or through network operations.
In particular, companies in the Norwegian defense and emergency sector, state administration, research and development and critical infrastructure companies are considered to be highly vulnerable, according to the assessment.
Better control of extreme environments
PST believes it is “possible” that religious extremists carry out terror attack in Norway in the coming year, but the terrorist level has nevertheless downgraded.
– We seized weapons of an extreme Islamic environment, and thus we deprived them of capacity,” PST chief Benedicte Bjørnland said to NRK, referring to an operation in June.
Bjørnland also pointed out many extremists died in Iraq or Syria.
Radicalization is no longer happening through organizational activities, but rather individual-based, so the power and environmental impacts of the extermists groups have been weakened, according to Bjørnland.
Right and Left Wing Extremism
There is also concern about the right-wing extremist environment in Norway.
– The Nordic resistance movement is a racist extremist organization against those of different color and religion. They have a much larger environment in Sweden than in Norway, and we must therefore work actively to ensure that they do not get a foothold here, “said Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug, who was also present at the press conference of PST.
Yet, PST believes it is unlikely that right-wing extremists have reached a capacity to carry out terrorist attacks in Norway, while left-wing extremists are very unlikely to commit terrorism despite increased activity.