Intelligence: Baby, It's Cold Outside

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February 12, 2008: Norwegian counter-intelligence officials believe that Russian espionage has returned to Cold War levels. There was a sharp drop in Russian espionage during the 1990s, and the new spying is directed more at economic than military information. Norway is a leading developer of off-shore oil drilling technology and techniques, and Norwegians believe it's these secrets the Russians are most interested in. Other nations are also after this technology, and their spies are also active in Norway.

Russian espionage has increased worldwide in the last eight years, ever since former espionage chief Vladimir Putin was elected president of Russia. Russia denies this increase, as one would expect, but does defend the use of espionage to protect Russian interests. These days, those interests appear to be mainly economic, not military. While Russia depends on the more traditional forms of espionage (recruiting agents in foreign countries), China has energetically gone the high tech route, making increasingly effective espionage forays via the Internet. China also uses human spies a lot, but also relies on thousands of Chinese students, businessmen and tourists to pick bits of intel that are put together back in China to produce useful results.

 


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