Overview: Norway's internal security service continued to assess that violent Islamist extremism remained the primary threat to the security of Norway. A small but outspoken group of violent Islamist extremists were active in Oslo, although they were not responsible for any attacks. In 2013, a number of prominent cases raised concern about Norwegians radicalizing at home and traveling abroad to participate in terrorist activities. The Police Security Service (PST) publicly stated that approximately 30 to 40 Norwegian residents had traveled to Syria to fight. However, it was the 2011 attacks by right-wing lone offender terrorist Anders Behring Breivik that prompted a number of changes to Norway's terrorism laws and emergency preparedness, many of which were implemented in 2013.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In June, the Parliament passed a number of changes to Norway's counterterrorism laws. These included provisions to close the "lone offender" loophole (which required proof of a large conspiracy for a terrorist conviction) and to criminalize the receipt of terrorist training.
The PST is responsible for domestic security, including counterterrorism activities. During the year, the government established a joint analysis cell with participants from the PST and the Norwegian Intelligence Service, the external security service.
Norway is a party to EU border control data sharing arrangements. In 2013, Norwegian immigration authorities began using biometric equipment for the fingerprinting of arrivals from outside the Schengen area.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Norway is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and held the FATF presidency for the first half of 2013. The Government of Norway adopted and incorporated FATF standards and recommendations, including the special recommendations on terrorist financing, into Norwegian law. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Norway continued its support for the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF)'s project to facilitate counterterrorism technical assistance in two pilot countries – Nigeria and Burkina Faso – and CTITF's efforts to implement the regional counterterrorism strategy for Central Asia. Norway also provided US $80,300 to a joint project led by the UN's Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate and the Center on Global Counter-Terrorism Cooperation to promote regional counterterrorism cooperation in South Asia. Furthermore, Norway renewed its agreement with the University of Pretoria's Institute for Strategic Studies to build counterterrorism capacity in the police and judiciary systems of African countries. Norway will provide US $1.1 million from 2013 to 2015 for the project. Norway agreed to provide US $150,000 through 2014 to the AU's counterterrorism center, the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism, located in Algiers, for the project to strengthen controls over the cross-border movement of terrorists in spaces between official border posts. The project will focus on states in the Sahel and Maghreb.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The issue of radicalization became publicly prominent in late 2013, due in part to media attention to several Norwegians citizens or residents who had traveled to Syria or East Africa to fight in conflicts. The government established an interagency working group, led by the Ministry of Justice, to provide recommendations for a new national strategy to prevent violent extremism. The new strategy, to be drafted by the Ministry of Justice, with input from a range of government ministries, will replace Norway's current strategy, drafted in 2010. The government announced that its priorities in the new plan would be to: improve knowledge and competence; strengthen existing preventative measures; prevent recruitment to violent extremist groups; prevent the internet from being used as an arena for recruitment and radicalization to violence; and strengthen international cooperation. The group will also study specific measures to prevent recruitment and radicalization to violence, including internet controls, travel bans, and confiscation of passports.
Norway remained a member of the EU's Radicalization Awareness Network, an umbrella network of practitioners and local actors involved in countering violent extremism that is designed to enable the members to share and discuss best practices in spotting and addressing radicalization and recruitment leading to acts of terrorism.