Friday, November 26, 2010

[wvns] Swedish probe US espionage

Swedish probe into US 'espionage'
Mon Nov 8, 2010

Sweden has launched an investigation into "illegal intelligence activities" conducted by the US embassy in Stockholm, the country's prosecutor says.

Tomas Lindstrand, Sweden's chief prosecutor on security issues, "has decided to launch a preliminary investigation of illegal intelligence activities," his office said in a statement on Monday.

"The probe regards American actions to protect the US mission in Stockholm and American personnel," it added.

The announcement was made two days after Beatrice Ask, Swedish Justice Minister, said that the US embassy in Stockholm have been secretly spying on its citizens in the capital since 2000.

Similar allegations surfaced in Oslo and Copenhagen last week.

In all three countries, officials said they were not informed of the activities which extended to monitoring demonstrations and storing personal information about protestors.

The US missions in Sweden and Norway have issued statements, insisting the actions are part of common protection procedures.

"The Embassy's Surveillance Detection Unit is exactly what its title states: a program designed to detect surveillance against US posts overseas. It is not a secret program, nor is it an intelligence program," the US embassy in Stockholm said on Saturday.

Ask said on Saturday that it was understandable "that countries under high threat take measures to reduce the risk of attacks."

"But these measures must fall within the framework of Swedish law," and Swedish authorities must be informed, she said, adding that she was uncertain about the legality of the action.

Some experts say if surveillance was carried out without authorization, it constitutes a violation of Swedish national law.



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