Data collected by Norway's intelligence services in Afghanistan is used by US and Nato forces to target controversial drone attacks, the organisation's head has revealed.
Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen told Aftenposten newspaper that the data Norway's E-Service handed over to the US's National Security Agency was "part of an overall information base used for operations". "Such operations may include the use of drones or other legal weapons platforms," he confirmed.
When Norway's Dagbladet newspaper reported in November that the US's National Security Agency collected 33m pieces of phone data from Norway over just one month, Grandhagen claimed that this was not data from Norwegians' phone calls as Dagbladet reported. Instead, he said, the 33m referred to data collected outside the country by Norway's intelligence services, particularly in Afghanistan.
Grandhagen specifies told Aftenposten that countries receiving intelligence from Norway's E-Service could only use it for purposed agreed in advance. "The information is disclosed only for intelligence purposes, and cannot therefore be used by the recipient for any other purposes, unless we have previously agreed to it," he told the newspaper.
"Disclosure takes place in the Norwegian interest and under Norwegian control." Gerald Folkvord, at the Norwegian arm of Amnesty International, the human rights group, told Aftenposten that there was no way that Norway could know that its intelligence was properly used, and called on the E-Service to pressure the US to make more efforts to reduce the number of civilian casualties of drone warfare.
"Norway must be clear that if the US does not clean up its act, we may be totally unable to cooperate," he said. He points to the fact that the United States should have killed civilians, both in Afghanistan and other countries, with its drone attacks. This month 17 people were killed in Yemen when a wedding was accidentally hit by a drone.