Finnish intelligence reorganizes to boost information gathering


The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Suojelupoliisi or Supo) has been reorganized to “enhance information gathering,” the agency announced on Tuesday.

It follows the agency warning that the Kremlin was treating Finland as a “hostile country” following its accession to NATO, and an act of suspected maritime sabotage.

An investigation into the incident, in which a China-flagged ship sailing to Russia damaged a subsea gas pipeline and a telecommunications cable between Finland and Estonia, is ongoing. In November, Beijing promised its full cooperation with the investigation. Moscow said one of the country’s own cables was also damaged.

Supo’s reorganization has cut the agency’s previous nine departments down to eight, publicly announced the head of each department and published them on its website, although it added further changes would not be made public.

The reorganization comes as the agency’s previous chief, Antti Pelttari, departs to take up the role of secretary-general of Parliament at the beginning of this New Year — effectively the head of the parliamentary civil service.

Supo’s deputy director, Teemu Turunen, has been appointed as the agency’s acting director until a permanent successor is found. Fellow deputy director Jonna Turunen will continue in her position, Supo announced.

The agency is responsible for foreign intelligence as well as domestic counterintelligence. Last year it was involved in expelling nine diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Helsinki as the Finnish government accused them of undertaking intelligence missions in contravention of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

The expulsion of alleged Russian intelligence officers throughout Europe prompted Supo to warn that Russia would “turn to the cyber environment” for espionage due to challenges impacting its human intelligence work.

Sauli Pahlman, the deputy director general for Finland’s National Cyber Security Centre, told Recorded Future News he didn’t “consider it very likely that we [will] really see a cyber incident in Finland that really closes down something that’s critical for society — food, electricity, water — on a wide scale.”

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Alexander Martin is the UK Editor for Recorded Future News. He was previously a technology reporter for Sky News and is also a fellow at the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative.


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