Sweden and Norway investigate reports of US spying of ‘suspicious activities’

CNN reports that Sweden and Norway have launched an investigation into whether the United States conducted illegal surveillance in the Nordic countries. The investigation follows a report by Norway’s TV2 claiming that the U.S. Embassy in Oslo has been conducting an “illegal systematic surveillance of Norwegian citizens.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley acknowledged the surveillance program at a press briefing in Washington on Monday, but said Norwegian authorities had been informed.

“The surveillance detection program is something that we’ve put in place over the last decade. We recognize that our posts around the world are prospective targets and tragically there’s a lot of intelligence and actual attacks to back that up,” he said.

“All of our activities in Norway are fully consistent with and with the cooperation of the host nation government,” he added.

But some key Norwegian authorities deny they had any knowledge of the operation.

Martin Bernsen, a spokesman for the Norwegian Police Security Service,  told CNN that they knew of “a certain surveillance activity taking  place, but not at this scale.

The Surveillance Detection Unit (SDU) is said to have been collecting personal information such as vehicle registration numbers and personal  information about individuals behaving suspiciously.

These  reports were then collected in a database called SIMAS, where  information is shared between different U.S. authorities and posts, TV2  reported.

The Swedish investigation was opened after the U.S. Embassy there told authorities its employees had been conducting surveillance activities, similar to what was recently discovered in Norway

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