• Eyal Pinko

Several hundred potential spies in Sweden

Already ten years ago, there were hundreds of intelligence officers in Sweden, with the capacity to operate up to a thousand agents.

Since then, the threat from a foreign power has intensified. Moreover, these activities against Sweden have increased, says the Swedish Security Service.

Last week, the Swedish security services Säkerhetspolisen, also known as Säpo, arrested a suspect for “exacerbating espionage” in a case that had already led to the detention of a former intelligence officer.

The statement said the suspect was detained in connection with the “previous case” that led to his first arrest on September 20. According to Swedish media reports, the man involved in the early 40s incident was a high-ranking civil servant and former intelligence officer.

In the September 20 case, the suspect was detained on suspicion of espionage but was subsequently subject to preliminary interrogation on “misuse of confidential information.”

The Dagens Nyheter newspaper reported that he served with support and Swedish military intelligence, including the Special Intelligence Service (KSI), the most secret section of the military secret service.

Those two events led SAPO to announce that, already ten years ago, there were hundreds of intelligence officers in Sweden, with the capacity to operate up to a thousand agents.

Since then, the threat from foreign powers has intensified. - In total, these activities against Sweden have increased.

In a short time, several cases of suspected espionage have been brought to attention.

Among other cases, two brothers, one of whom is a former top manager within a government agency that has also worked at Säpo, are being investigated for gross espionage against Sweden for ten years.

Today, several states conduct illegal intelligence activities against Sweden - and according to Säpo, they have a significant capacity for retrieval.

In total, more than 15 countries have intelligence officers on-site in the country, and in a government investigation from 2012, Säpo stated that about one hundred to several hundred intelligence officers are involved, each of whom can handle between one and four agents. Therefore, it gives a sum of between a few hundred to up to over a thousand agents and potential spies operating in Sweden.

Part of the intelligence officers operating in Sweden are stationed at embassies undercover. Säpo has previously said that every third Russian diplomat actually works for one of Russia's intelligence services.

The other intelligence officers travel to Sweden for individual assignments and then return to their home country. So they are operating undercover, where you should think that they belong to companies or other parts of the private sector.

SAPO counter-espionage senior officer said that since the figures were presented, there have been increased activities from other countries towards Sweden.

The suspected spy cases that have become known clearly show that the activities against Sweden are taking place both aggressively and with greater risk-taking.

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