• Sweden's news in English
 

Spies in Sweden mostly from China, Russia, Iran

Published: 08 Dec 2012 09:54 GMT+01:00

Just two months ago, in October 2012, Swedish Armed Forces chiefs were warned about the presence of foreign spies during a closed-doors meeting in the basement of the military headquarters, reports the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

Anders Thornberg, the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) chief, confirmed the information.

"Espionage against Sweden is a daily occurrence," said Thornberg, who started his Säpo career in surveillance, observing intelligence officers from Eastern Bloc and intercepting their meetings with suspected Swedish agents.

"In the past, during the Cold War, we were busy looking East but now we also find espionage from other, completely unexpected regions," explained Thornberg.

"The most efficient method for a foreign power is to recruit a local agent."

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the number of foreign intelligence officers operating in Sweden dropped and remained low until 2011 when the number increased slightly.

Two months ago, all Armed Forces unit commanders were warned that there were signs of increased espionage activity in Sweden, especially from distant nations.

At the meeting, Stefan Kristiansson, head of the Military Intelligence and Security Service (Militära underrättelse-och säkerhetstjänsten), informed the unit commanders about which foreign powers currently conduct the most comprehensive and aggressive intelligence operations.

Russia, China and Iran have topped the list for a decade, but Wilhelm Unge, Säpo's chief analyst for counter-espionage, told Svenska Dagbladet that other countries too have an interest in spying on Sweden.

For instance, Sweden sells submarines to Australia, and the Chinese might be interested in details about the technology and performance of those submarines, explained Unge.

"China is building the society of the future and wants to be independent. That creates intelligence needs," he claimed.

Aside from the trio of states who top the espionage list there are a dozen or so nations that also conduct intelligence gathering in Sweden that are normally regarded as friendly states, according to Säpo.

The purpose of the espionage could be to gather military, political or industrial intelligence.

"There are no real friends, only interests," said Thornberg.

The Local/nr

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:51 December 8, 2012 by Rishonim
No news here. Every embassy and diplomatic corp has at least three spies attached to their roster.

science attaché

Visiting professors

Exchange students

Researchers

Corporate espionage like CEO's of major International firms operating in a foreign country

Cultural attaché

Corner kebab restaurant

Merchants
11:52 December 8, 2012 by skatty
"There are no real friends, only interests," sounds paranoia!

And you hear it from a country, which give Nobel Prize (including Peace Prize) to other countries!

Probably the other countries should think in the same way about Sweden!
13:53 December 8, 2012 by me_i_sverige
@skatty: Are you one of them? scared...you should be.
13:59 December 8, 2012 by krattan
Nobel Peace Prize is given by Norway. That's why it's botched up.

The most active countries operating in Sweden should rather be Great Britain and USA as we've been working for them for ages. But that might not be spionage, rather colonisation.
02:56 December 12, 2012 by jess37
So please name the other 12 foreign powers that have growing spies in Sweden!
Today's headlines
Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
A ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/TT

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue

UPDATED: Hundreds of young Swedes were set to form a 'ring of peace' around a synagogue in Stockholm on Friday afternoon, in a show of solidarity two weeks after Jews were among those targeted in a pair of deadly shootings in Copenhagen. READ  

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions
Assyrians citizens during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Photo: TT

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has slammed the abduction of Christians in Syria earlier this week and pledged to keep supporting communities affected by the ongoing fighting in the Middle East. READ  

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital
Commuters using some of the stationary escalators in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital

Commuters in Stockholm are set for more frustration next week, with 39 escalators set to remain switched off at some of the city's busiest underground stations, following an accident a fortnight ago. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings
The window of the Copenhagen cultural centre where one man was shot. Photo: TT

Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings

A man has been arrested for "complicity" in the Copenhagen shootings that killed two people earlier this month, with the Swedish artist Lars Vilks among the presumed targets of the attacks. READ  

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project
Vattenfall's Stockholm office. Photo: TT

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project

A massive new offshore wind farm off the west coast of Denmark is being built by the state-owned Swedish company Vattenfall, it has emerged. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks
Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo: TT

Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks

A planned lecture at Sweden's Karlstad University by the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the presumed target of the terror attack at a cultural event in Copenhagen earlier this month, has been scrapped by organisers. READ  

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy
Sweden's economy is growing faster than expected. Photo: TT

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy

Sweden's economy grew more than expected at the end of last year, with GDP rising by 1.1 percent between the third and fourth quarter, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden. READ  

War criminals could go unpunished in Sweden
Tora Holst, head of the International Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm. Photo: Marc Femenia/SCANPIX

War criminals could go unpunished in Sweden

War criminals could walk free in Sweden because there are too few police officers to investigate the suspected offences, prosecutors have warned. READ  

Swedes' coffee passion could cut nerve disease
Swedes are among Europe's biggest coffee drinkers. Photo: Helena Wahlman/Image Bank Sweden

Swedes' coffee passion could cut nerve disease

Few people drink more coffee than the Swedes and now research funded by the Swedish Medical Council has suggested that those who have four to six cups a day may be less likely to get multiple sclerosis (MS). READ  

The Local Recipes
How to make a Swedish 'pyttipanna' fry-up
Pyttipanna with pickled beetroot and a fried egg. Photo: John Duxbury

How to make a Swedish 'pyttipanna' fry-up

Famous Swedish meal 'pyttipanna' has seen a revamp in recent years. This traditional comfort food used to be a way of using up leftovers, but is nowadays often spotted in trendy restaurants. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Super cute sloth twins charm visitors to Swedish zoo
Lifestyle
Meet Sweden's first woman chef to win a Michelin star
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: February 26th - March 5th
Accelerated for Ice Music
What is Bob Dylan's guitarist doing in northern Sweden?
Features
How well do you know Sweden's top celebrity couples?
Blog updates

27 February

Editor’s blog, February 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Our most read story this week got picked up by global media from Al Jazeera to..." READ »

 

18 February

The mysterious -s, part 2 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"-s expressing “each other” (reciprocal verbs) You have most likely used this form of the verbs..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Are company boards 'too white' in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: February 25th
Technology
Sweden is dubbed second most 'digital' nation in European Union
National
Why more Swedes want a sex change
National
The return of Sweden's Ace of Base
National
Why has Julian Assange's case been going on for so long?
National
'21' or 'IS'? Swedish police confuse birthday with Islamist extremism
National
Spring has sprung in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Ängelholm
National
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Business & Money
Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of (yet)
National
Is Sweden home to the world's oldest living cat?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The life and career of Fredrik Reinfeldt
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why are Swedish Jews worried?
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Gallery
People-watching: February 19th-22nd
National
'Racist' bird names banned in Sweden
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Nobel prize to go under hammer
National
Swede named 'Fanny' banned from getting UK loyalty card
National
Spotlight on the Swedes that could be funding Islamists
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Gallery
People-watching: February 18th
National
Is a chocolate crime wave sweeping across Sweden?
National
What we know about the Copenhagen shootings suspect
National
Danish Ambassador: 'We'll live our lives the way we always have'
National
What does this '90s pop act have to do with a former minister?
Lifestyle
How to embrace Sweden's creamy semla bun tradition
National
Did this Swedish hotel really refuse a gay couple?
National
Why are so many escalators down on Stockholm's Metro?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsbacka
National
Can Zlatan's tattoo stunt help end world hunger?
Gallery
People-watching: February 14th
Lars Vilks
National
Who exactly is controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks?
Lifestyle
VIDEO: How to tackle Sweden's bizarre mating rituals
Sponsored Article
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
Lifestyle
How to make traditional Swedish blackberry pie
National
What the weak krona means for expats and visitors to Sweden
National
What's in a Swedish meatball?
National
Spotlight on 32 Swedish Isis fighters killed in Syria and Iraq
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,007
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options