• Sweden's news in English
 

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

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.  

"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 stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

The Local/sr (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden enjoys tourism boom
Photo: Måns Fornander/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden enjoys tourism boom

Tourism in Sweden is increasing rapidly with foreign tourists expected to spend a total of 115 billion kronor (13.3 billion) this year, according to an industry forecast. READ  

Swedish hostages freed in Syria
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Swedish hostages freed in Syria

Two Swedish men held hostage in Syria have been released with the help of Jordanian and Palestinian authorities, Sweden's foreign ministry said Saturday. READ  

Swedes risk double tax over pension change
The 'orange envelope' containing annual pension statements. Photo: TT

Swedes risk double tax over pension change

Many Swedes risk paying double tax on their savings following changes to private pensions rules, experts warn. READ  

Christian Democrats elect first female leader
Photo: TT

Christian Democrats elect first female leader

Sweden’s Christian Democrats on Saturday unanimously elected Ebba Busch Thor as the party’s leader, replacing Göran Hägglund. At 28, she’s the youngest person to ever lead a Swedish party in parliament. READ  

Municipal interpreters spoke wrong language
Most migrants from Romania speak Romanian, not Romany. Photo: TT

Municipal interpreters spoke wrong language

The municipality of Helsingborg hired interpreters to communicate with migrants from Romania. Problem was, the interpreters spoke a language the Romanians didn’t know at all. READ  

Swede wins world boxing title
Badou, left, connects with Anthony Dirrell during the fight in Chicago. Photo: AFP

Swede wins world boxing title

Sweden's Badou Jack claimed the World Boxing Council's super middleweight title as he outpointed previously unbeaten Anthony Dirrell in Chicago on Friday night. READ  

Swedish police officers praised by New Yorkers
The Swedish police heroes meet with NYPD heads. Photo: New York Police Department/TT

Swedish police officers praised by New Yorkers

A video has emerged of Swedish off-duty police officers breaking up a violent fight on the New York subway. READ  

Eighth happiest: why are the Swedes not pleased?
Swedes are the eighth happiest people in the world. Photo: Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

Eighth happiest: why are the Swedes not pleased?

Sweden is the eighth happiest country in the world, according to the UN. But the result has not gone down well in the Nordic country. The Local caught up with an expert to find out why. READ  

Löfven: Palestine move was done by the book
Stefan Löfven gets a grilling from the powerful Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Swedish parliament. Photo. Henrik Montgomery/Scanpix

Löfven: Palestine move was done by the book

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has denied that he bypassed parliament when the country recognized Palestine last year. READ  

Early summer sweeps in across much of Sweden
Swedes enjoying the sunshine in Stockholm. Photo: The Local

Early summer sweeps in across much of Sweden

Get the barbeque out and your swim suit ready – summer is here. In fact, western and parts of central Sweden have been able to enjoy the year's warmest season for the past seven days. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
What's on in Sweden: April 23rd - 30th
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
How the Stockholm School of Economics changes expat lives
Features
My bizarre Swedish habits that foreigners just don't understand
National
Brits in Sweden face NHS black hole
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Blog updates

24 April

Editor’s blog, April 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Spring has well and truly arrived, as evidenced by the start of strawberry season. The..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
The Swedish regions where you're least likely to stay jobless
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd
Sport
Sweden's Eriksson joins row over foreign England player quotas
National
MEP says ignoring migrant crisis like 'Sweden's Holocaust appeasement'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Swedish mining town that's being moved
National
How much would you pay for first Swedish strawberries of 2015?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Photo: TT
National
Get set for a sunny week in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
National
US spy agency to feature in new 'Stieg Larsson' book sequel
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
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

3,330
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