Johan Linander of the Centre party revealed to daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) on Thursday that the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) briefed him, along with the other members of the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen), of the discovery of the two US agents after their departure from the country.
“Sometimes the US takes a step too far in their fight against terrorism, and that is very regrettable and wrong,” Linander told SvD.
On Monday the paper revealed that the Säpo had discovered two American undercover agents operating in Sweden in 2009. When Säpo approached the CIA for an explanation the two agents left the country.
The contact at the agency, “Charlie”, had diplomatic immunity, according to SvD, and could therefore not be tried in Sweden.
But “Charlie” left Sweden after the incident. According to Linander, he was “let go”.
The two agents operating undercover in Sweden did not have diplomatic immunity and could have been prosecuted. But according to Linander this is the usual procedure.
“That is the way to handle it if you want this kind of behaviour to stop,” Linander told SvD.
Linander also told the paper that this isn’t the first, and unlikely the last time that the US has overstepped its mark in Sweden, alluding to an incident in 2001, when CIA agents forcibly deported two Egyptian nationals from Sweden.
So far the government has declined to comment but the Social Democrat head Håkan Juholt said on Tuesday that he is hoping that the opposition will be briefed by the government in the advisory council on foreign affairs next week.
But according to Linander, who has briefed his own party, Juholt should “stop whining” and contact his own party members who sat on the police board at the time of the discovery.
But Susanne Eberstein, the Social Democrat MP who sat on the board, told news agency TT that she could not have passed on the information from Säpo to anyone outside of the Board.
“It is obvious that you don’t pass on classified information,” said Eberstein.
And the Social Democrats have not been briefed.
“This is news to me, I have not been informed of this,” Juholt said through his press secretary to news agency TT.
According to Eberstein it is always the responsibility of the government to brief the opposition.
“This has nothing to do with the National Police Board, the information was classified,” she said to SvD.