Danielsson insisted in an interview with Sveriges Radio that he was at work on Boxing Day 2004, when the tsunami happened, claiming over 500 Swedish lives.
The former state secretary’s actions will once again come under scrutiny, as the Catastrophe Commission restarts its investigation of the former government’s response to the disaster. Danielsson said he had not tried to wriggle out of his responsibilities, and vowed that he had been in the office on the day of the catastrophe.
“But it wasn’t a day that was etched on my memory in the way that for instance September 11th 2001 was. It wasn’t dramatic for us at the time that it happened, that’s the problem. It took time before we saw the extent of it.”
Danielsson said he was not afraid of the commission’s new investigation, as he knew himself what he had done. But he said he could not give answers to detailed questions, such as which computer he had logged in on.
Asked about the media coverage of his role, particularly splashes in tabloid Aftonbladet painting him as a liar, Danielsson responded:
“It makes you feel ill – it’s that abusive. And without there being any justification for the abuse – that’s the worst part of it.”
He admitted that he had been given opportunities to put over his side of the story. But, he said, it had been completely pointless because the paper had defamed him “with such forceful language, with no basis in reality.”
Danielsson said he and his family had been great pressure for the last year and a half. Members of his family had put up with a lot of abuse.
“I’m not sure I can handle another media storm,” he said.