Norway′s intelligence chief resigns after confidentiality breach | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 19.01.2012
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Norway's intelligence chief resigns after confidentiality breach

The head of Norway's internal security agency has resigned after revealing sensitive information about the Scandinavian country's spy network during a parliamentary hearing.

Janne Kristiansen, Director of The Norwegian Police Security Service, speaks at press conference in Oslo, Thursday July 8, 2010, after three suspected al-Qaida members were arrested in what Norwegian and U.S. officials said was a terrorist plot linked to similar plans in New York and England

Kristiansen resigned after divulging confidential information

Janne Kristiansen, head of Norway's Police Security Service (also known by its Norwegian acronym PST), tendered her resignation on Wednesday night after mistakenly revealing the existence of agents in Pakistan during a public hearing before the Stortinget or Norwegian parliament.

When asked during the hearing whether Norway should have contacts with Pakistani intelligence, Kristiansen asserted that they already had agents with military intelligence, the E service, in place.

"The E service has its representatives in these countries, so we cooperate via the E service about this country," she had said, according to the session transcript.

Kristiansen handed in her resignation to the Justice Ministry on Wednesday.

"I want to emphasize that there is no established law, but that it concerns a possible breach of confidentiality," Norway's justice minister, Grete Faremo, said in a statement. "I have nonetheless chosen to meet Kristiansen's desire to resign."

Already on thin ice

Kristiansen had already been criticized for missing signs of Anders Behring Breivik's impending attacks on Norwegian soil that ended up killing 77 people.

Breivik detonated a car bomb in central Oslo, and during a July 22 shooting spree, killed 77 people at a political youth camp on Utoya island.

Kristiansen had refused to step down over the attacks despite criticism of the PST.

"Not even Stasi-Germany would have managed to isolate and catch this person," she told state broadcaster NRK three days after Breivik's double attack.

"You would almost have had to have a chip inside the head of every single Norwegian, to capture all thoughts."

Kristiansen's deputy Roger Berg was taking over as head of the PST until further notice, according to the Justice Ministry's website.

Author: Stuart Tiffen (AP, Reuters)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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