Swedish government keeps quiet on US agents
Published: 24 May 2011 15:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 May 2011 15:19 GMT+02:00
The Swedish government has declined to comment on Monday’s revelation in the Swedish press that the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) had exposed two American undercover agents in Sweden in 2009.
- US ran 'secret terror hunt' in Sweden: report (23 May 11)
“The ministry of justice is continuously briefed on the activity of the security services. There are also routines and regulations on how the other parts of the cabinet are informed. But we will not comment on if, how and when the ministry of justice is briefed in an individual case,“ minister for justice, Beatrice Ask, wrote in a statement.
According to foreign minister Carl Bildt, the foreign ministry has not been briefed by Säpo, which sometimes happens regarding the behaviour of foreign diplomats.
“This case has not been dealt with at the foreign ministry,” Bildt told news agency TT.
If Säpo finds foreign diplomats in breach of Swedish law they can turn to the foreign ministry to have them pronounced persona non grata by the ministry and forced to leave Sweden.
“But this has not occurred in this case,” Bildt said.
According to Social Democrat head Håkan Juholt, the opposition will be briefed by the government in the advisory council on foreign affairs next week.
“I think that is good. It is important that the government will give us information and that we have a chance to discuss it on the council,” said Juholt to TT.
He doesn’t want to criticise the actions of the government until he has heard what they have to say.
“If what the press are saying is true, this is a breach against Swedish and international law. First I want to know if the Swedish government was informed and what actions they have taken,” Juholt said.
And according to Juholt the Swedish people will not be kept in the dark.
“That is never acceptable. First the parties should be briefed but of course the government are also obligated to inform the people. If there has been a breach of Swedish and international law I assume that the government will let the Swedish people know what actions they will take,“ Juholt told TT.
Säpo discovered in 2009 that two Americans were conducting illegal, under-cover investigations in Sweden, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily reported Monday.
According to the paper, the two men were discovered when Säpo noticed them tracking people that they were themselves investigating for suspected ties to terrorist groups.
Washington had not informed Swedish authorities of the agents' activities in the country, and soon after their activities were discovered, the two US citizens left the country, the paper added.
Neither Säpo nor the American embassy has so far been willing to comment the affair in the press and the government is also keeping a tight lid on the matter.