Monday, 23 March 2015

Swedish security service: A third of Russian diplomats are spies

SÄPO: Approximately a third of all Russian diplomats stationed in Sweden are in reality intelligence officers, according to Sweden’s intelligence service. 

The Scandinavian country’s primary intelligence agency, the Swedish Security Service, known as SÄPO, told reporters  that around one in three accredited officials stationed in Russia’s embassy and consulate in Gothenburg routinely engage in various forms of espionage. 

The claim was made at SÄPO’s headquarters in Solna, in the suburbs of Stockholm, during the unveiling of the agency’s annual counterintelligence report. 

The main presenter at the press conference, SÄPO chief analyst Mr, Wilhelm Unge, told reporters that Russia constitutes “the biggest intelligence threat against Sweden” at present.
Mr.Wilhelm Unge told the audience that SÄPO had prevented “several attempts” by Russian diplomatic personnel to steal Swedish-made technology last year, especially related to weapons systems and other military technologies. 

Especially notable, said Mr, Wilhelm Unge  was that the new, "post-Soviet generation" of Russian intelligence officers stationed in Sweden are younger in age than their Soviet-era counterparts. He added that they are also well-educated, very driven, goal-oriented and socially competent, something that Soviet intelligence officers were admittedly not known for (by Sweden's SÄPO but very well known by most likely all the intelligence community ) Mr Wilhelm Unge noted that Iranian and Chinese intelligence operatives were also markedly active on Swedish soil, but refused to provide details.

One might add that the general Intel community has grown since after the cold war and is now strongly presented by China up front and Iran who triads to control  dissidents /refugees by threatening their families back home. In other words Sweden mixed the shadowy secret services of terror and industrial spying in one simple category.

The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for accrediting foreign diplomats stationed in Sweden, declined comment on whether it had expelled any Russian diplomats in recent months. 

In a brief statement, the Ministry’s spokeswoman Mrs, Anna Ekberg said simply that the Swedish government expected the Russian Federation “to respect the Vienna Convention and that their diplomats [in Sweden] are actually diplomats”. 

The Associated Press contacted the Russian embassy in Stockholm for a response, but officials there refused to provide one. SDR regulars will recall that Swedish authorities shut down airspace over Stockholm last October, while conducting an extensive search for an alleged Russian submarine, which was believed to be lurking in the port of Stockholm. 

The incident caused tension between the two countries, prompting calls for more stringent Swedish counterintelligence measures against Russia.