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Cablegate: Iceland: 2009 County Reports On Terrorism

VZCZCXRO1771
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHRK #0222 3551225
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211225Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4241
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
REUILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000222

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR S/CT RHONDA SHORE and NCTC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER ASEC IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND: 2009 COUNTY REPORTS ON TERRORISM

1. (SBU) Included is Embassy Reykjavik's submission for the 2009
Country Report on Terrorism. Embassy POC for this report is
Political Officer Joshua Rubin, office phone: 354 562-9100;
email:rubinjn@state.gov.

The Government of Iceland stated in its most recent terrorist threat
assessment, conducted by the National Police Commissioner in 2008,
that the likelihood of terrorist activities occurring in Iceland is
low. In the same assessment, however, the government concluded that
the potential consequences of such activities were severe enough to
merit a high level of vigilance. The government, therefore,
continued its efforts to strengthen domestic border security and
counterterrorism capabilities during the year.

The National Police Commissioner has primary responsibility for
counterterrorism efforts in the country. An elite counterterrorism
unit, called the Viking Squad, is considered the first line of
defense in Iceland's efforts against terrorism. The unit is
comprised of approximately 45 members and specializes in various
types of paramilitary techniques. The National Security Unit, which
also falls under the jurisdiction of the National Police
Commissioner, gathers intelligence, drafts threat assessments and
exchanges information with foreign counterparts with the aim to
prevent or reduce the likelihood of terrorism.

The Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) is responsible for Iceland's coastal
defense and monitors the ocean around Iceland, both within and
outside of territorial waters. The ICG served as the Chair of the
North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum in 2009 and hosted the
organization's annual conference in September. Also in September,
the ICG hosted Northern Challenge 2009, a NATO-supported exercise
focusing on explosive ordnance disposal and counterterrorism
scenarios. The ICG cooperates closely with its counterparts in the
U.S. Coast Guard and signed a cooperative agreement in 2008 that
increased bilateral security cooperation.

The Icelandic Defense Agency (IDA) has responsibility for
operational ties with NATO and other allied states. The IDA, which
currently falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs, is also responsible for monitoring Icelandic airspace via
the Icelandic Air Defense System (IADS). In May, the IDA
coordinated the third annual round of high level security dialogue
talks between the United States and Iceland since the closure of the
Naval Air Station in Keflavik (NASKEF) in 2006. The government
announced in December that the IDA would be dissolved in 2010 and
that its functions, along with those of several other agencies, will
be merged into a prospective Ministry of Interior Affairs.

The Icelandic government supported multilateral counterterrorism
efforts. Iceland continued its deployment of personnel at Kabul
International Airport and International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF) Headquarters in Afghanistan in support of NATO operations.

As a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), Iceland
continued to comply with requirements in the VWP law related to
information sharing and other law enforcement and counterterrorism
cooperation. This cooperation was further enhanced by the
Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.
WATSON

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