‘Danielsson was too passive’ – Catastrophe Commission

A review of tapes found in government offices in late 2006 has shown that Swedish officials were less active than they had claimed during the tsunami crisis in 2004.

Lars Danielsson, who was Göran Persson’s closest aide at the time, remained passive as events unfolded in east Asia, according to a new report from the Catastrophe Commission.

The report reveals that Danielsson did not immediately receive an e-mail sent by the Defence Department early on the morning of December 26th. He did not read his e-mail until after lunch that day.

“Since Danielsson was quite passive in the initial crisis management phase, the commission has made the assessment that he did not search particularly hard for information,” the Commission wrote.

While adding little to the larger picture, the new information has strengthened the impression of weak crisis leadership from government offices.

Ahead of the presentation, Danielsson elected to go public with his criticism of the Commission.

Writing in Dagens Nyheter, Danielsson expressed the view that the Catastrophe Commission has deliberately leaked information to the media with a view to damaging his reputation.

He also felt that the Commission has focused too little on analysis and ways to make improvements.

For its work the Commission has had access to 119 tapes found in a locked cabinet in the basement of government offices towards the end of last year.

The tapes include logs of who entered government offices, as well as e-mail, fax and telephone traffic from December 20th 2004 to January 19th 2005.

The government made a decision in January that the Commission should resume its investigation of the tsunami tapes.