Norwegian police are warning that an increasing number of Norwegian politicians and businessmen have been the targets of Russian intelligence “honey traps” involving sex and alcohol, The Local reports citing Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.
The head of Norway’s Police Security Service’s (PST) counter-intelligence unit, Arne Christian Haugstøyl, has warned that Russia is using “honey traps” — a time-honored intelligence method of luring a target into doing something incriminating for the purposes of future blackmail — as a way to plumb Norwegian citizens for information.
“We have received reports of Norwegian citizens who have been blackmailed to deliver information to Russian authorities,” Haugstøyl told the NRK, according to a translation by The Local. “This is an alarming development that we must be more aware of.”
The specific concern is that a large number of Norwegians have fallen for Russian traps, which reportedly feature plentiful amounts of alcohol and, according to Quartz, women as well. And, according to NRK, a number of Norwegian parliamentarians have spoken with the PST recently — although they have refused to comment to the broadcaster directly on what they might have been talking about in these meetings.
There’s a possibility that some number of prominent Norwegians may fear the consequences from their Russian intelligence handlers if they speak to the police force.
“We suspect a large uncounted figure, because some people will undoubtedly feel the pressure is so large that they will not report it to us or to their employer when they return,” Haugstøyl said according to The Local’s translation.
According to the NRK, those under Russian presure include parliamentarians that could pass along sensitive government information as well as Norwegian businessmen in Russia.
Honey traps have a long history. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and US-allied nations each tried to turn journalists, businessmen, and spies of the opposing nations using honey trap methods. China and Israel have employed the tactic as well.
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