• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

The Local/sr · 28 Jul 2014, 17:01

Published: 28 Jul 2014 17:01 GMT+02:00

Sweden has started scratching its head about Norway's methods of handling a recent threat.

"It created unnecessary anxiety in Norway,"  Magnus Ranstorp, terrorist expert at the Swedish National Defence College, told The Local. 

Norway has been on high-powered, ultra-defensive tip-toe for the past few days, since its intelligence service (PST) said last Thursday that it suspected an "imminent" terror attack.

"Was it necessary? There are some critical questions we don’t know the answer to," Ranstorp mused. "How close was the threat, was it an inevitable trajectory, and how much of it could they control? And we don’t know any of that because the story keeps on changing."

Ranstorp said that both Sweden and Denmark have gone public about terror threats before, but generally only the threat is under control and the suspect has been clearly identified.

"That's apparently not the case here."

The threat was described as "credible" but "unspecific", but the PST admitted that it did not know who was behind the threat, nor where or how any attack might be carried out.

Since then airspace has been blocked, football tournaments disrupted, and museums closed in preparation for the attack. Nuclear plants were shut down and border control checks increased. 

Ranstorp said that the PST deserved praise for its openness - but not its timing.

"In order to maintain faith and credibility, they need to be as transparent as possible," Ranstorp said. "But it should be done restrictively, and not without good grounds. The Golden Rule is that the more they go public, the less they know."

Following the initial report on Thursday, Norwegian TV reported on Saturday that there was good cause to suspect the attack would take place on Monday. On Sunday agencies backed off, saying that indeed it may not be Monday - but that they still suspect an attack. The situation was unchanged on Monday.

"The 22nd of July was a sort of complete intelligence failure, and they took the safe road. It’s understandable," Ranstorp told The Local.

"But we can be a bit critical of their level of response. There didn’t seem to be any clarity. One day they raised the level, the next they say it’s coming, the next they drop it again."

Ranstorp said the nation could not continue indefinitely with such measures, as the drama has already hit hard on the Norwegian economy through lost tourism profits and overwhelming security costs - not to mention the potential impact on society.

"One of the big problems when you go out strong like this is that you not only create public anxiety, but it can also create terrorism in society," Ranstorp told The Local.  

Story continues below…

"You have to make sure that if there is a general sort of threat like this that people stand together, with community leaders, to mitigate the long term effect."

Former Danish Security (PET) director Hans-Jørgen Bonnichsen has also criticized Norway's behaviour, calling the Norwegian police's reactions a "victory for the terrorists" in newspaper Berlingske.

Ranstorp  disagreed – but did say an assessment would be needed to determine whether such measures had been appropriate.

"There needs to be an assessment, or Norway will be like a yo-yo with security, going up and down, up and down, and over time it will become meaningless. So you really have to reserve this extreme level of security for very severe situations."

On Monday evening the PST announced that they would be lowering the threat level on Tuesday another step - but that the nation is still armed and prepared for an attack. 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/sr (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Stockholm Pokémon hunter impaled on metal fence spike
Another Swede playing Pokémon Go in Stockholm. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

He tried to climb a fence to find more Pokémon.

Video
When Alicia Vikander taught us to put our pen in the bottle
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and US talkshow host Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Tonight Show/NBC/Screenshot

We're not even sure if that's a euphemism or not.

Muslim man fired for not shaking women's hands
File photo of people shaking hands. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

A man is suing a local council in Sweden after he lost his job for refusing to shake hands with female colleagues.

Swedish bus driver who hit asylum seeker: 'I'm not racist'
The story has grabbed global headlines. Photo: Nobina

A Swedish bus driver caught on camera beating and kicking an asylum seeker has for the first time spoken to media.

Stay out, the water's filthy! Germs ruin Swedes' swims
Seagulls only.

Fancy a dip? If so, you might want to keep your mouth shut.

Man kicked off flight from Sweden over 'Isis tattoo'
A Norwegian plane at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A flight from Stockholm was delayed on Thursday after it was claimed that one of the passengers had an Isis flag tattooed on his arm.

Homes
In pictures: Are Swedes falling in love with colour at last?
What happened to the Swedish greyscale? Photo: Linda Åhman

Antonia Wiklund of Houzz.se investigates why the Swedes are abandoning their sleek and clean interior design for vibrant colours.

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish cold poached salmon
Cold poached salmon. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Poached salmon is a Swedish summer classic. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

Property
This castle: yours for the price of a tiny flat
Hägerstads Castle: a tumultuous history. Photo: Skeppsholmen Sotheby's International Realty.

It has turrets, is set on a lake and is just 2 hours from Stockholm. So why's it so cheap?

Adult boss 'groped girls' at Swedish kids' football cup
The Gothia Cup opening ceremony. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

UPDATED: The manager's team have been told to leave the world's largest children's football tournament in Gothenburg.

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Blog updates

14 July

Boris Johnson: why Britain’s new foreign minister is cordially loathed (Globally Local) »

"There are lots of things to say about Boris Johnson, Britain’s new foreign secretary. He is…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
National
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
National
ANALYSIS: Why Swedes are talking more about immigration than before
National
Watch Icelanders cheer their Swedish hero coach
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,341
jobs available