• Sweden edition
 
Sweden sits on pipeline of intelligence 'gold'

Sweden sits on pipeline of intelligence 'gold'

Published: 06 Sep 2013 18:49 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Sep 2013 18:49 GMT+02:00

"Sweden has had a privileged position in the international intelligence system since the 1940s due to its exceptionally high signals intelligence competence," Wilhelm Agrell, professor of intelligence analysis at Lund University, told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

The comments made on Friday come after remarks made by investigative journalist Duncan Campbell on Thursday in front of a European Parliament committee that Sweden was one of the United States' most important partners in efforts to monitor internet communications across the globe.

"A new organization has joined the "Five Eyes" and is seen as the largest cooperating partner to [the UK's] GCHQ outside the English-speaking countries – and that is Sweden," Campbell can be seen telling the committee in a video of the hearing, referring to the colloquial term used to refer to the US, UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

Specifically, he pointed to the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets radioanstalt, FRA), explaining that the agency helped the US National Security Agency (NSA) and British GCHQ gain access to signals intelligence carried through fibre optic cables at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

According to Agrell, Sweden sits in a geo-strategically important position with respect to the international signals intelligence system by having the ability to access cables that carry data traffic between the east and west.

"Sweden sits on a pipeline filled with golden eggs," he told DN.

Speaking with the TT news agency, Agrell explained that it's not against the law for Sweden to provide the US and UK with access to the cables as such actions weren't prohibited in the controversial 2009 FRA-law that regulates the agency's intelligence gathering activities.

"The Swedish debate about the FRA-law was about the privacy of Swedish citizens. International cooperation wasn't discussed. But there is backdoor in the FRA law; when it comes to international cooperation, more or less anything goes," he said.

He added that it's improbable that the Swedish government is unaware of the intelligence sharing.

"The government should know about this. I heard Carl Bidlt wavering when he was asked about it, but he can't waver," Agrell said.

When asked about whether Sweden gave the United States access to the Baltic Sea cables, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt avoiding confirming or denying the activities.

"I'm not confirming anything, other than to say that Sweden, for a long time, throughout the post-war period, has cooperated with other countries and that we have a national security policy doctrine that says we should," he told TT.

Some have criticized Reinfeldt for not pressing US President Barack Obama on NSA intelligence operations detailed in leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden, documents to which Campbell referred in his presentation to the European Parliament on Thursday.

But Agrell said it was unfair to expect Reinfeldt to "put Obama up against the wall" over the issue.

"If you have both your hands in the cookie jar, you're not going to be especially convincing," he told DN.

TT/The Local/dl

Follow The Local on Twitter

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ebola crisis
Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

A male passenger who landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport has been transferred to an isolation unit amid fears he may be suffering from the Ebola virus. But a specialist was keen to play down concerns. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Pictured: 'suspicious object' off Swedish coast
Photo: Swedish Armed Forces

Pictured: 'suspicious object' off Swedish coast

Sweden’s Armed Forces have said it is likely a foreign power is conducting operations in Swedish waters, and have released pictures of a suspicious object seen in the Stockholm Archipelago. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Mystery deepens over reported Russian sub
The HMS Visby combs the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday as the military operation continues. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Mystery deepens over reported Russian sub

Mystery deepened on Sunday over a Swedish military operation triggered by "foreign underwater activity" off the coast of Stockholm, amid an unconfirmed report of a hunt for a damaged Russian submarine. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Russia: No emergencies involving warships
A military patrol in the Stockholm archipelago during the ongoing submarine hunt on Saturday. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Russia: No emergencies involving warships

Russia's defence ministry has said there are no emergency situations involving any its warships amid reports that a Russian distress call prompted Sweden's hunt for "foreign underwater activity." READ  

National
Cops do boy's homework after burglar call out

Cops do boy's homework after burglar call out

An 11-year-old boy in Stockholm ended up getting help with his homework by the police after he rang them up saying he was concerned a burglar was breaking into his house. READ  

Swedish Honeymoon Killing
Dewani honeymoon hitman dies in jail
British businessman Shrien Dewani appears in the high court in Cape Town. Photo: TT

Dewani honeymoon hitman dies in jail

A man convicted of killing British businessman Shrien Dewani's bride has died in a South African prison, officials said Saturday,just days after Dewani himself went on trial for her murder. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Sweden hunts damaged Russian sub: report
Naval staff aboard the HMS Visby, which took part in planned exercises on Friday and is likely to participate in the submarine hunt. Photo: Yvonne Åsell/SvD/TT

Sweden hunts damaged Russian sub: report

A Russian distress call prompted Sweden's hunt for "foreign underwater activity" in the Stockholm archipelago, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reports. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Sweden steps up hunt for 'underwater activity'
A Swedish military vessel takes part in the operation launched in the wake of suspected "foreign underwater activity" near Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/Scanpix

Sweden steps up hunt for 'underwater activity'

The Swedish armed forces intensified a military operation off the coast of Stockholm on Saturday where they were investigating a report of "foreign underwater activity". READ  

Ebola crisis
Port steps up checks to combat Ebola threat
Ships docked in Gothenburg port. Photo: Oliver Mallich/Flickr

Port steps up checks to combat Ebola threat

Gothenburg harbour is tightening its routines regarding the control of ships from west Africa as a result of the Ebola epidemic. READ  

National
Swedish wheelchair fraudster caught in Brazil
The fraudster was pictured on holiday in Egypt without his wheelchair. Screenshot: SVT

Swedish wheelchair fraudster caught in Brazil

A Swedish man who conned the state out of 13.5 million kronor ($2 million) by claiming he was wheelchair bound and needing 24-hour care has been arrested in South America after being on the run for over a year. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Gallery
Stefan Löfven through the years
Gallery
People-watching: October 1st
Analysis
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
National
JohannaN: Jewellery inspired by northern Sweden
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,004
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN