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Swedish MPs knew of undercover US agents

Published: 26 May 2011 10:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 May 2011 10:52 GMT+02:00

Several Swedish politicians knew that undercover US agents had been discovered in Sweden, according to a Swedish MP and member of the National Police Board.

Johan Linander of the Centre party revealed to daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) on Thursday that the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) briefed him, along with the other members of the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen), of the discovery of the two US agents after their departure from the country.

“Sometimes the US takes a step too far in their fight against terrorism, and that is very regrettable and wrong,” Linander told SvD.

On Monday the paper revealed that the Säpo had discovered two American undercover agents operating in Sweden in 2009. When Säpo approached the CIA for an explanation the two agents left the country.

The contact at the agency, “Charlie”, had diplomatic immunity, according to SvD, and could therefore not be tried in Sweden.

But “Charlie” left Sweden after the incident. According to Linander, he was “let go”.

The two agents operating undercover in Sweden did not have diplomatic immunity and could have been prosecuted. But according to Linander this is the usual procedure.

“That is the way to handle it if you want this kind of behaviour to stop,” Linander told SvD.

Linander also told the paper that this isn’t the first, and unlikely the last time that the US has overstepped its mark in Sweden, alluding to an incident in 2001, when CIA agents forcibly deported two Egyptian nationals from Sweden.

So far the government has declined to comment but the Social Democrat head Håkan Juholt said on Tuesday that he is hoping that the opposition will be briefed by the government in the advisory council on foreign affairs next week.

But according to Linander, who has briefed his own party, Juholt should “stop whining” and contact his own party members who sat on the police board at the time of the discovery.

But Susanne Eberstein, the Social Democrat MP who sat on the board, told news agency TT that she could not have passed on the information from Säpo to anyone outside of the Board.

“It is obvious that you don’t pass on classified information,” said Eberstein.

And the Social Democrats have not been briefed.

“This is news to me, I have not been informed of this," Juholt said through his press secretary to news agency TT.

According to Eberstein it is always the responsibility of the government to brief the opposition.

“This has nothing to do with the National Police Board, the information was classified,” she said to SvD.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:47 May 26, 2011 by Observour
"This is news to me, I have not been informed of this,"

Any politician in any country world which says s/he is not aware of CIA undercover operations in their territories are either pretending or being nut. These guys are everywhere and they have succeeded in convincing us that they are pro-American...they seem to be more pro-666 than pro-American.
11:57 May 26, 2011 by robban70226
mmm Guest that 2 left , and

How many new ones came?
12:06 May 26, 2011 by Roy E
It's far more disturbing that Sweden is essentially a safe harbor for terrorists and jihadis who are astute enough to exploit Swedish naivete and debilitating idealism.
12:49 May 26, 2011 by technoviking
Juholt in charge of national security.

There's a disturbing thought.
12:55 May 26, 2011 by wenddiver
Ever have a CIA Agent put on a Suicide Vest and walk into a crowd of Swedish shoppers at Christmas time and press the detonatot to blow himself up?????

Unless you hate Swedish people, I would say you really can't be on the terrorist side once you look at reality, unless your mental.

I personally am against all causes trying to kill me, so I favor the CIA over the terrorists.

Even if the two Men were two US Journalists (a lot more likely), the US would have got them out of the country than face their arrest, but in the end it all comes down to which side are you on , stop the next terrorist act in Sweden or let the Women and Children die?
16:18 May 26, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
The Swedish MPs were on the CIA's payroll. That is what I have heard and you know that if the river sounds is that it carries water.
16:35 May 26, 2011 by johnny1939
Aren't we on the same side against terrorism?? What difference does it make if CIA operates in Sweden? Säpo can probably need all the help they can get. I wonder what kind of people join that outfit anyway? It is not in the Swedish nature to spy on their neighbors.
00:17 May 27, 2011 by MartinGerner
There are quite a few commenters here who seem to think that it is perfectly fine for the CIA to be operating on Swedish territory. I can only assume that they would be equally happy about Swedish intelligence agents operating covertly in e.g. the US without notifying that government.
01:52 May 27, 2011 by johnny1939
They probably are and it is ok by me.
04:45 May 27, 2011 by Infart
It's ok by me too. Remember who the enemy is here.
05:43 May 27, 2011 by here for the summer
@martin

of course .. If Swedish agents tracing terror suspects ( Like the ones who attacked on 9/11 ) were in the US it would be great !! We need protection !! I live in both countries and am very happy about having everyone chasing terror suspects . Aren't you ?
07:50 May 27, 2011 by cookiemaster
There is everything about terror suspects right here: "Obama = Stalin = Bush or USA = Soviet Union"....just copy/paste text in google...
22:24 May 27, 2011 by lindenb
Australia has had the US Secret Pine Gap Facility for years and years,,, Signal Intelligence.. Most Aussie's don't know about it..Why not use an Allie country for information gathering... Sweden have you got something to hide???
23:01 May 28, 2011 by wenddiver
@Martin- Actually, in some of the places terrorists hang out in New York City, Swedish Operatives pretending to be sympatheticactavists might be very effective. If SAPO has people who can help I am sure the US would love to have the help.

Non-US Nationals interested in helping in the World Wide War against the Terrorists might want to try WWW.CIA.GOV

I am sure MI-6 and SAPO is equally recruiting a few good men, with the interest in protecting the rest of the World.

Just remember your sucesses and heroism will go unknown, your few errors become historic disasters and nobody will ever know what you did for the cause of Freedom.
23:29 May 28, 2011 by jayseah32
My gut feeling is that someone in either the government or Sapo has a confidente or some kind of connection with the U.S. organization, and passed on some info to them, else why, out of the clear blue, would agents be sent out? No, there had to have been a reason.
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