• 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
Sweden paying 'millions' for empty asylum beds
A child plays outside a hotel converted into asylum accommodation in Överkalix. File photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The Swedish migration authority (Migrationsverket) has spent a reported 197 million kronor ($23 million) on unused beds for asylum seekers in 2016.

Sweden to join Nato strategic centre: director
Photo: Fredrik Broman/Imagebank Sweden

Non-aligned Sweden will join Nato's Strategic Communications Centre based in nearby Latvia amid heightened tensions with Russia.

Swedes bake during 'record' warm September
Swedes relax on Malmö's Sundspromenaden at sunset on 14th September 2016. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

New record temperatures are expected to be confirmed in a number of places across the country.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

Swedish police 'in crisis' says union head
A file photo of Swedish police officers. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The creation of a new merged national police authority in Sweden has not gone well, according to the Swedish Police Union.

Nobel Prizes 2016
Nobel Literature Prize announcement delayed
Haruki Murakami (pictured) is one of the bookmakers' favourites. Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP/TT

The delay is due to 'arithmetic', an academician said.

Horny elk hold up Swedish hunt
One of the randy animals in question. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

The giant things just can't contain themselves.

Sweden to ban masks but not burqas at football matches
A masked supporter at a Stockholm derby football match last year. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The ban is designed to curb violence at sporting events in Sweden, but it must also follow conventions on religious freedom.

Video
Heckler humbles Swedish golf champion with perfect putt
Henrik Stenson met his match in the final practice for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP/TT

Well that wasn't supposed to happen...

Presented by Invest Stockholm
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges

It’s no secret that Stockholm is serious about sustainability. We took a look at how the city's emerging startups are tackling global challenges, making the world a better place.

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
OPINION: Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
National
Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
National
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
2,945
jobs available