The US Embassy in Finland says that it has the same kind of Surveillance Detection Unit (SDU) as other US embassies have. According to a statement issued by the Embassy on Monday, the unit operates in accordance with Finnish laws, and does not engage in espionage.
The purpose of the unit is to watch out for possible suspicious activities near the Embassy and to prevent possible acts of terror.
SDUs were set up at US embassies following attacks against American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Finnish Security Police (SUPO) said on Monday that it was aware of the degree of surveillance work that the US Embassy engages in.
Last week, Kari Harju, the head of the Security Unit of SUPO said that there was no SDU at the US Embassy in Helsinki.
“It is not significant under what name the activities take place - only that they are not illegal. We have been aware of that”, said SUPO’s head of communications Liinu Lehto-Seljavaara on Monday.
SUPO discussed the matter with representatives of the US Embassy on Monday, and says that there are no unanswered questions.
US Ambassador Bruce Oreck said on Monday to Helsingin Sanomat that the purpose of the unit is to keep the embassy safe, and not to gather information about people.
He also emphasised that Finland is a very safe country compared with many others.
Finnish law allows anyone to gather information on other people as long as it takes place in a public location, or involves public sources of information.