NSA engaged in illegal mass-spying of Norway's phone system


I dislike the NSA and its overreaching surveillance activities as much as the next guy, but why would the NSA be subject to Norwegian law?

1 Like

Look at it this way. Imagine that there is a Norwegian agency operating in the USA – there are several, including tourism boards and diplomatic bodies – that engaged in some conduct that Americans objected to.

Can you understand why it would matter whether that conduct was legal or illegal? If Norwegian diplomats drive ugly cars around DC that blare Norwegian folk music all the time, the question of whether those cars were doing something illegal would be an important one. It’s the difference between rudeness and criminality.


When they engage in illegal spying in violation of US law, that means we have an agency that is no longer under the control of Congress. When they do it in violation of another country’s law, well that’s sort of in the nature of what the NSA does, isn’t it? But I take your point. Norway is a close ally, and if the NSA’s operations there violate their laws, then they could justifiably withhold cooperation, or even arrest NSA employees that travel there to spy.

I posted this in another thread, but here you go again -


Are you trolling? Because if you are not, then your question is meaningless. Especially when the PM says something like:“It is legitimate to engage in intelligence, but it should be targeted and suspect based.”


[quote=“doctorow, post:3, topic:14626, full:true”]
If Norwegian diplomats drive ugly cars around DC that blare Norwegian folk music all the time, the question of whether those cars were doing something illegal would be an important one.[/quote]
The cars in DC playing the folk music are from Innovasjon Norge. The diplomats are all blaring black metal.

1 Like

I would guess that the NSA might be sharing the results of that mass dragnet surveillance with Norwegian government - something in that process is likely very much against Norwegian law.

Aside from that, are there terrorists in Norway that might pose a threat to the US? Is that even remotely possibly a thing? I find it highly unlikely. SO they are just grabbing everything, everywhere. That is bad in any country.

1 Like




Welcome to Fascism?



There’s some redundancy here. If it was legal, would it be spying?

1 Like

No, but there might be other terrorists hiding in Norway and planning attacks on the US. Because they hate the US for their freedom.

Also, economic espionage. Norway is a big oil exporter and has lots of claims in the arctic circle.

1 Like

[quote=“rocketpj, post:8, topic:14626, full:true”]
Aside from that, are there terrorists in Norway that might pose a threat to the US? [/quote]
Well, there are some loopy ultra-right-wingers that have spread at least as far as France (cf Varg Vikernes).

1 Like

Yes, but there’s no allegation in the article that the data collection actually happened inside Norway. Given the global nature of telecommunications, even domestic, it seems quite possible that the communications were logged outside of Norway, possibly when it passed through American or other international infrastructure.

Why not? The CIA’s foreign intelligence gathering is likely legal under US law, and if it uses infrastructure in the US it likely violates no foreign laws. Then there’s all sorts of surveillance, picture taking, and cultivation of personal relationship that violates no laws but still constitutes what we typically consider spying.

One of the suspects in the Kenyan mall shootings is a Norwegian.


Speaking of rudeness: “Ugly cars (…) that blare Norwegian folk music all the time …” ?

That’s funny considering the number of American suspects in various shootings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq…

1 Like

And summary for those that won’t read this:

According to the military intelligence services, this spying was done by Norway, against foreign targets, supposedly only targeting calls that never crossed into Norway; and as part of our presence in “conflict areas” (I’d guess mostly Afghanistan).

I don’t doubt that the above happened - but I’m not sure if I believe that the reported spying in Norway was a misunderstanding of the above program.

What’s funny? He asked a question, and I answered it. I’m sorry if our colloquy didn’t address whatever agenda you want to impose on it.

And if the the number of suspects is supposed to justify the amount of surveillance, then I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that the US also surveils its own citizens. Or if you’re just making some passive-aggressive insinuation about things the US military is doing, then that’s a totally different question: uniformed military actions are legally very different than civilian terrorist activities.

1 Like

Yes, because the guys with the military uniform say so and back this up with their guns. That doesn’t make it right and, most importantly, does’t change the fact that it’s terrorism.

If you want to have an honest discussion on this you’re going to need to first discuss basic issues like what terrorism means, whether wars are ever justified, and whether uniforms mean anything, or whether action are more or less legitimate when done by the state. I don’t see this happening or this groundwork being lain, so I think it will be difficult to have a rational discussion that goes beyond you simply declaring that the US is engaging in wholesale terrorism and me declaring that this isn’t so.