“We have to follow the rules,” said FRA head Ingvar Åkesson to the TT news agency.
The blogger, Henrik Alexandersson, last week published a document showing that FRA had monitored cable-bound telecommunications traffic involving private individuals, something the agency was not authorized to do in the 1990s.
The document describes communications between a Russian company and a Swedish small business owners.
As the document includes several Russian fax numbers, the traffic from which was likely carried by telecommunications cables in the 1990s, Alexandersson concludes on his blog that “it is reasonable to assume that FRA received the information by monitoring cables”.
But FRA’s director rejects the claim that the document shows FRA was monitoring cable-bound communications in 1996.
“No, it doesn’t show that at all. We didn’t monitor cables, it’s from monitoring the airwaves,” he said.
“The document in part of a report from us which is classified as secret and we feel that this may constitute a violation of free speech laws.”
Alexandersson tells Medievärlden he isn’t worried about FRA’s complaint, accusing the agency of trying to redirect attention away from FRA’s questionable past.
“It’s a risk you take when you publish something that the authorities don’t like,” he said.
“They want to shift focus from how they misbehaved to chopping the head off of the messenger. I don’t think that they see the PR-related difficulties with going out and trying to throw a blogger in prison.”
Nor does Alexandersson have any plans to remove the document in question.
“It’s obvious that they are trying to scare people so that more embarrassing information doesn’t come out in the future,” he told Medievärlden.
“Because I am the first they’re going after there’s no way I can back down.”