Norwegian spy case promises political bombshells within NATO
Oslo — It is the most complex and important spy case ever brought up in the courts of Norway. It is also a case that promises to deliver political bombshells for both Norwegian and foreign politicians. The trial of Arne Treholt, the Norwegian accused of passing secret information to the Soviets over 10 years, opened Monday with an account of Mr. Treholt's alleged confession.
Treholt, a former Norwegian foreign ministry spokesman, apparently told the government a sordid tale of enticement and entrapment by the Soviet secret police, the KGB, complete with details of an orgy set up in Moscow with Norwegian delegates attending a conference there in 1975. (Some delegates were also involved in the orgy, it is alleged, but nothing was said about them being pressured.)
Pictures taken during the evening were presented to Treholt by a KGB general already in contact with the alleged spy. Soviet demands followed for secret documents to which Treholt had access.
The prosecutor, Lars Qvigstad, says that important services were rendered to the Soviets by Treholt. The government's opening statement contains a number of charges alleging espionage that could affect not only Norway but 12 other countries, including seven NATO members.
He is accused of providing to Soviet agents details of NATO air defense and warning systems and of revealing Western intelligence on the Mideast and Afghanistan to Iraq and the Soviets.
Sensitive exchanges between high United States officials and members of the Norwegian government were also reported by Treholt to the KGB, according to the state. Henry Kissinger, Marshall Shulman, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, and Christopher George are among the well-known Americans whose confidential conversations with high-level Norwegians were targeted for reports to the KGB, it is said. Other classified exchanges that were said to have been passed to Moscow were those of former British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
More than 60 witnesses will be called by the prosecution. Among them will be Treholt's wife, television personality Kari Storaekre, who has just published a book about her life with Arne.
Trehold served as a member of Norway's mission to the United Nations from 1979 to 1982. Norway asked the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to place Treholt under surveillance in New York, the state told the court. Once an up-and-coming diplomat, Treholt's alleged brush meetings with KGB contacts were reported in fascinating detail in court -- from the initial signal in the delegate's lounge at the UN headquarters to later rendezvous at obscure restaurants safely distanced from the UN or in restrooms at the United Nations headquarters.
A typewritten note of great significance was found in Treholt's attach'e case, according to the prosecution. Apparently a memo to Treholt himself, it mentioned several Greek politicians, satisfaction with Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Turkey, Iran, lunch with a Soviet diplomat, etc.
From late 1982 to early 1983, he was chosen to attend Norway's National Defense College, where he would have been briefed on a variety of secret military matters. When he was arrested, Treholt was the newly named head of the Foreign Ministry's press office.
Trehold's lawyers are insisting that his contacts with Soviet officials were of a normal diplomatic variety in that he never passed on information that compromised the security of the country or NATO.
Treholt was charged with violations of both civilian and military security laws which could bring up him up to 20 years in prison.