The US Embassy in Stockholm. Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/Scanpix
Illegal surveillance

Confidentiality slows down embassy investigation

The investigation into allegations of illegal surveillance, carried out by the American Embassy in Stockholm, is being held back since those who can shed a light on events all say they are bound by professional secrecy.

But according to the Swedish prosecutor there is also a reluctance to cooperate with investigators.

The investigation started in November last year to see if illegal intelligence gathering had taken place. The embassy has allegedly surveilled Swedes moving on the streets outside the embassy premises and that would be in violation of Swedish law.

“We have called them for questioning and they have then declared that they are not at liberty to discuss the matter,” prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand, told Swedish Radio News.

Investigators have called about 10 people, who work for the special unit within the embassy known as SDU, for questioning. The purpose is to find out what the purpose of the unit is and how far-reaching the operation was.

“If they were allowed to speak openly about this they could probably shed a lot of light on this operation,” Lindstrand said.

When the allegations were first made the Swedish Intelligence Service confirmed that the embassy had informed them that they had installed a surveillance system in 2000, which also covered the area around the embassy.

Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask then said that the proper Swedish authorities had not been notified. The American Embassy released a statement saying that they had informed the proper authorities.

Similar allegations were made against the US Embassy in Oslo, Norway.

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