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Swedish intelligence official quits over wiretapping law

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Swedish intelligence official quits over wiretapping law
08:24 CET+01:00
A high-ranking Moderate Party politician and former defence minister has resigned from his post as head of Sweden's intelligence oversight agency in protest against the country's controversial wiretapping law.

Anders Björck served as Sweden's defence ministers in the early 1990s under then-prime minister Carl Bildt.

For the past 12 years, he has headed the Swedish Intelligence Commission (Försvarets underrättelsenämnd – FUN), an defence agency tasked with monitoring the intelligence services of the Swedish Armed Forces and the National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets radioanstalt – FRA).

His current term as head of the intelligence oversight body is set to expire in June, but Björck announced at the weekend he wants to leave his post early in because he lacks confidence in the new surveillance measure which came into force January 1st, reports the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

“I've thought it over carefully. The laws and the oversight activities now under consideration don't foster privacy or efficacy. I don't believe in the solutions which have been implemented and which they are now outlining for July 1st,” he told SvD.

Björck has voiced his concerns to the government that FRA's new surveillance structure won't improve upon the agency's traditional intelligence gathering methods or cost-effectiveness.

“Thus it's extremely important to have privacy protections that work and not a bunch of new bodies that paint a picture that it will work better than the system we've had before,” he told the newspaper.

Stepping down from the Intelligence Commission won't end Björck's public service career, however. He plans to continue in his job as Uppsala Country Governor, a government appointed position charged with managing the County Council which he has held since 2003.

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