Over the past year, the scientist who called himself ‘José Assis Giammaria’ conducted research into military activity in the Arctic. Here, he took aerial photographs with a drone. In reality, however, he turned out to be a Russian who was spying, reports The Guardian.
The spy was arrested by the Norwegian police on Monday. In the ruling of the Ministry of Justice, according to the Norwegian security service, he had a secret mandate from the Russian government to collect information on military activities and the investigators who were charting them. He also allegedly entered Norway with false Brazilian papers.
Giammaria’s lawyer denies the accusations and says that his client ‘does not understand the claims’. The man is currently still in jail, but the Norwegian police has announced that he would be deported during the coming month.
Giammaria had been working at the Faculty of Security Studies at the University of Tromsø since December. He gave lectures and conducted research. His colleagues described him as friendly and reserved. He stood out mainly because he constantly asked questions, did not use social media and had a strange accent.
Professor Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv had appointed him on the recommendation of a Canadian scientist with whom Giammaria had conducted similar research for his thesis. Gjørv finds the situation ironic, as she says to The Guardian. “We ourselves have now become part of what we are always investigating, namely threats to national security.”