The Committee is responsible for continuous oversight of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM), and the Norwegian Defence Security Department (FSA), collectively known as the “EOS services”.
Intelligence, surveillance, and security service performed by, or under management of, other public authorities shall also be subject to the Committee’s oversight.
The Norwegian Intelligence Service
The Norwegian Intelligence Service is Norway’s only foreign intelligence service, and is both a civil and a military intelligence service. The NIS collects information about situations and conditions outside the nation’s borders. The purpose of intelligence services is to help provide Norwegian authorities with a solid foundation on which to make decisions in matters that concern foreign, security, and defence policies.
The primary tasks assigned to the NIS are conferred by statute in Section 3 of the Intelligence Service Act, which states that the service shall procure, process and analyze information regarding Norwegian interests viewed in relation to foreign states, organizations or private individuals. And in this context prepares threat analyzes and intelligence assessments to the extent that this may help to safeguard important national interests, including
- design of Norwegian foreign, defence, and security policy,
- contingency planning and correct handling of episodes and crises,
long-term planning and structural development of the Norwegian Defence Establishment efficiency of the operational departments of the Norwegian Defence Establishment
- support for defence alliances in which Norway participates,
- Norwegian forces that participate in international operations,
- procurement of information concerning international terrorism,
- procurement of information concerning supranational environmental problems,
- procurement of information concerning different forms of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and equipment and materials needed to produce such weapons, and
- the basis for Norwegian participation in and follow-up of international agreements on disarmament and arms control measures.
The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST)
PST is Norway’s national police security service, and its responsibilities include collecting and analyzing information and implementing countermeasures against matters that threaten national security. The service is organized as a special police service parallel to the regular police, and the service reports directly to the Ministry of Justice.
PST’s primary responsibility is to prevent and investigate crimes that may pose a danger to national security. The service has adopted various methods and procedures in its approach to this task. Key methods include gathering information on individuals and groups that may pose a threat, preparing various analyzes and threat assessments, investigating relevant matters, and other operative countermeasures, as well as offering general advice.
PST’s main tasks and assignments are conferred by statute in Chapter IIIA of the Police Act. Section 17b of the Police Act states that the PST shall prevent and investigate
- violations of the Penal Code, specifically Chapters 17 (Felonies against the independence and other national interests of Norway) and Section 184 (Disturbing the peace of a foreign state), and the Security Act,
- unlawful intelligence activities,
- the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the equipment, materials, and technology associated with the production or use of such weapons,
- violations of provisions in or pursuant to the Act relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology, etc. and the Act relating to the Implementation of Mandatory Decisions by the Security Council of the United Nations, or other legislation relating to similar special actions, and
- sabotage and politically motivated violence or coercion, or violations of Sections 131 – 136a, 145 and 146 (Terrorism and terrorism related acts) of the Penal Code.
Section 17c of the Police Act further states that PST’s central unit shall
- prepare threat assessments for use by political authorities,
- collaborate with the police authorities and security and intelligence services of other nations,
- and carry out vetting for use in security investigations.
The National Security Authority (NSM)
The National Security Authority shall coordinate protective security measures and oversee the state of security in the types of activities that are subject to the Security Act. In addition to its role as the national security authority in accordance with the Security Act, the NSM is also responsible for a variety of other essential tasks.
In Norway, protective security measures include all measures aimed to safeguard sensitive and classified information and objects from harmful activities, such as espionage, sabotage, and terrorist acts. In this context, information and objects that are significant for national security are regarded as sensitive.
NSM is the Norwegian expert authority on security clearance cases, and also houses NorCERT – the Norwegian National Cyber Security Centre.
NSM shall have overall responsibility for the following areas:
- Value assessment
- Security administration
- Physical protection
- Document security
- Information system security
- Communications security
- Crypto security
- Personnel security
- Classified procurements
- Internet security
- IT security certification
- Photographic and cartographic monitoring
The Norwegian Defence Security Departement (FSA)
FSA is responsible for protective security service and operative security in the Armed Forces.
The Chief of FSA is the adviser to the Armed Forces management on security service, cf. Ministry of Defence Instructions on Security Service in the Defence Sector.
The department maintains the overall responsibility for security service in the Armed Forces by ensuring that the activities are organised, performed and reviewed according to the Security Act and the needs of the Armed Forces.
FSA keeps track of the security risks that surround the Armed Forces and Norwegian military activity at home and abroad. The department is the security clearance authority for the defence sector, with the exception of the personell at the National Security Authority and the Norwegian Intelligence Service. The department also has the professional responsibility for security management, information security and physical security.
- Practice operative security service*, including identifying and counter threats within and against the Armed Forces
- Produce and maintain a military security assessment
- Be the sectorial security clearance authority
- Be a point of contact for military counter intelligence in NATO and in bilateral cooperation
- Be a central staff function and professional authority for protective security in the Armed Forces
- Ensure the Chief of Defence’s control needs within protective security
- Represent the Chief of Defence in the cooperation with PST and NSM in matters of security, and
- Represent the Chief of Defence in national and international forums for security
FSA is the largest security clearance authority in Norway and handles approximately 20 000 security clearance cases annually. Administratively FSA is part of the Norwegian Armed Forces Joint Support Services.
* “operative security” means identifying and counteracting security threats directed towards Norwegian or foreign military activity, military objects or military personnel, that is normally not undertaken by the Norwegian Intelligence Service or by military forces’ intelligence service or by measures to protect the forces.