SUPO was set up sixty years ago following the dismantling of an earlier agency which had become infiltrated by communists. The tables were turned and activities of local leftists became the under the new agency’s watchful eyes until the beginning of the 1980’s.
According to the SUPO history author, Professor Kimmo Rentola, the automatic filing of communists ended in 1984.
The Soviet KGB was the primary opponent of the Finnish Security Police. KGB agents tried to infiltrate all elements of Finnish society. A cat and mouse game ensued where Soviet agents posing as diplomats were quietly deported. Final decisions were taken by the President, who often adopted a tougher stance than that suggested by SUPO.
Professor Rentola recalls the late President Kekkonen responding to a SUPO deportation request by asking for a second agent also to be sent back to Moscow. Kekkonen’s successor, President Mauno Kovisto followed the same line.
SUPO also successfully foiled KGB attempts to create some twenty Finnish “non-persons” by forging church records.
Rentola’s book also shows the Finnish Security Police was not neutral during the cold war and engaged in co-operation with western security agencies such as the CIA. In the professor’s view, this was probably because the west behaved more like a friend at the time.