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Terrorism threat in Finland won't decline in near future, says Supo security report

Foreign countries continue to engage in espionage on Finland, says the Security Intelligence Service (Supo).

Suojelupoliisin päällikkö Antti Pelttari ja apulaispäällikkö Seppo Ruotsalainen Supon tiedotustilaisuudessa.
NBI chief Antti Pelttari (left) and deputy chief Seppo Ruotsalainen (right). Image: Jarno Kuusinen / AOP

The threat of terrorism in Finland remains at a raised level for the third year running, according to chief Antti Pelttari of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo).

Pelttari was joined by deputy Supo chief Seppo Ruotsalainen and research specialist Saana Nilsson at a Helsinki press conference on Monday, where the organisation announced its official security assessment for the closing year.

"The report focuses on espionage, cyber spying, extremist movements and foreign hybrid influence," Pelttari said.

The terrorist threat level is at 2 out of 4 (low, raised, high, very high) according to a system that Supo adopted in mid-2017. The bureau also described the threat level as "raised" prior to this in 2015.

"There is no reason to believe that the threat level will fall to level 1 in the near future," Pelttari stated.

Suspected terror links on the rise

The number of people targeted by Supo in connection with terrorism has increased from about 270 people in 2015 to some 370 people this year. The report states that some 80 people are also known to have left Finland to engage in terrorist activity abroad; the figure is the same as a year earlier.

This is the first time that Supo is both reporting its findings to heads of state as well as publishing a publicly viewable version of the document.

Pelttari also said that foreign countries continue to engage in espionage on Finnish soil.

He had little to comment in response to questions about specific security threats at the presser, saying that the methods used to identify foreign spies as well as potential terrorists are deeply classified.

Supo issued its previous threat assessment in March 2018.

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