Reining in the PST

According to their critics, the Norwegian security police have gone too far in their surveillance of and information-gathering on members of radical Islamic groups in Norway. Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer has translated an article about an official report on the issue, and includes this introductory note:

This article from TV2 concerns a political committee in Norway that is taking active steps to prevent the PST (Norwegian security police) from doing their job. Individuals who are trying to destroy democracy are now off-limits for the security services, just because it leaves a bad taste in the mouths of some politicians to ‘keep a close eye’ on Muslims. It is also strange in light of the 22/7 attacks in Norway that politicians and political committees get to dictate which methods the security services are allowed to use, and that they base their decisions solely on political criteria, and not on actual threat-assessment criteria.

I guess that people like the Boston bombers would have been off limits for the security services if these idiots had their way. Notice also the stark contrast with Counterjihad activists in Norway, whom the political establishment wants very much to monitor.

The translated article from TV2 (if you open the original article, you’ll see that one of the authors is named Kadafi Zaman):

The PST have been engaged in illegal monitoring of Muslims in Norway

The EOS Committee has uncovered extensive violations.

Last Wednesday the EOS Committee presented a report to the Parliament on the PST and how the intelligence service has been gathering information about the Muslim extremist community in Norway.

The committee which has been appointed by the Norwegian Parliament to oversee the secret services claims that the PST has been engaging in illegal intelligence gathering on a number of occasions.

In its report the Committee maintains that although the PST had the legal mandate to monitor the top echelon of two domestic organizations, it has been established that the PST has collected information on several individuals based solely on their religious beliefs.

The EOS Committee believes that the extensive intelligence gathering is a result of uncritical gathering and use of information.

Has to delete illegal information

The PST has collected information on 110 members from one extreme organization and on approximately 370 members from a second organization.

The PST will now be ordered to delete illegal information from their records

“We have come across several hundred pieces of illegal information. We have informed the PST about individuals that are not supposed to be in their records, and the PST will now have to go through their records and delete this data. As of yet we still don’t know how many people we’re talking about.”

Generally speaking, to keep a close eye on these organizations is the right thing to do, but the PST still needs to take into account the integrity of the individuals when they file this information. And this is where the PST has failed, or in some cases not been accurate enough, says the leader of the committee, Eldbjørg Løwer to TV2.

The EOS committee has the following to say about the basis of the PST intelligence gathering of the first Islamic organization:

“The PST’s basis for monitoring people associated with this organization was spiked by a growing interest in the organization in the early 1990s. However, it is not clear why the PST first became interested in the organization. Registered information spanning a seven-year period contains, for the most part, factual information about the organization, including its members, its leadership, whether they received support from abroad, etc.”

The Parliamentary Committee believes that the initial monitoring of the organization was triggered by a need to ascertain whether there were extreme elements within its ranks, and subsequently the PST’s concerns were validated as to why it was considered necessary to monitor the organization as a precautionary measure.

Received a tip from cooperating agency

The PST’s interest in the second extremist organization was triggered when the PST received information from a cooperating agency.

“The information prompted the PST to investigate whether a person in the organization was preparing to carry out a criminal act in Norway or abroad, a task that the PST was responsible for preventing,” according to the report.

The PST monitored both organizations and key people associated with these organizations for more than ten years.

The EOS Committee has criticizes the PST for registering information that doesn’t appear to be relevant:

“In the Committee’s opinion the PST has accumulated far more information about the key individuals than it had a legal basis for.”

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