Unauthorized FBI Questioning of Icelandic Teen

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Unauthorized FBI Questioning of Icelandic Teen

wikileaks-logoIn late summer 2011, FBI agents questioned an 18-year-old Icelandic boy on matters which, according to them, concerned national security. The boy was connected to WikiLeaks. The questioning took place against the wishes of Icelandic authorities.

On the evening of August 23, 2011, the boy, whose identity Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV decided not to reveal, came forward to the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavík with information he said concerned possible hacking into the Icelandic government offices’ computer system.

This is stated in a three-page briefing by the Icelandic Commissioner of the National Police and the Icelandic State Prosecutor on the course of events when representatives of the FBI came to Iceland in 2011, which was published on Monday.

The FBI representatives had come to Iceland on an earlier occasion to discuss the possible hacking with local authorities and request a letter rogatory, a formal request for assistance.

Approximately six months before the FBI warned Icelandic authorities about the possible hacking, it was revealed that a suspicious computer had been found in an office building belonging to Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, in 2010, which was connected to the in-house computer system.

The so-called ‘spy computer’ was covered significantly in the media and some reporters implicated WikiLeaks. However, WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson maintained WikiLeaks had nothing to do with the affair.

Twenty-four hours after the boy came to the embassy, August 24, eight FBI agents came to Iceland to question him. The following day, the Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson requested that the Icelandic police cease its collaboration with the FBI.

However, after at least five days of questioning in Iceland, the FBI agents continued to question the boy in Washington D.C.; he stated himself that he had accompanied the FBI to the U.S. for that purpose. This has been confirmed to RÚV.

Kristinn Hrafnsson told RÚV that the boy had worked on some projects for WikiLeaks as a volunteer for several months.

It is unclear what information the boy had access to and why U.S. authorities considered them to be of such importance.

A joint statement from the Icelandic Commissioner of the National Police and the Icelandic State Prosecutor reads that an investigation into suspected serious violations against the Icelandic state is ongoing.

Following the release of the briefing of the Icelandic Commissioner of the National Police and the Icelandic State Prosecutor on Monday, Interior Minister Ögmundur is preparing to issue a statement on the arrival of the FBI representatives in Iceland in 2011.

Ögmundur is currently on an official visit in China. Acting Minister of the Interior Katrín Jakobsdóttir revealed his intention at a cabinet meeting yesterday.

As reported last week, Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, whose connection with WikiLeaks has been investigated by U.S. authorities, is planning to travel to the U.S. in April to support Bradley Manning in spite of being advised not to travel to the country.

An appellate court in New York will today handle the case of Birgitta and six others against the U.S. authorities, ruv.is reports.

In other news, human rights organization Open Society Justice Initiative names Iceland as one of the 54 countries assisting CIA with extraordinary rendition by permitting flights through Icelandic airspace published in an article in The Guardian yesterday.

This was also maintained in a report by Amnesty International in 2006, which stated that more than 1,000 flights carried prisoners destined for extraordinary rendition, one of which made a stopover at Keflavík, ruv.is reports.

Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, who was foreign minister at the time, appointed a task force in 2007 to look into the CIA’s flights through Icelandic airspace. The task force concluded that it was impossible to confirm that the aircraft had transferred prisoners illegally.

A document from the U.S. Embassy, which was written at the time and later leaked by WikiLeaks, stated that appointing the task force had been pretention on the minister’s behalf to make it look as if something was being done in the matter.

Click here to read more about the FBI’s attempts to investigate Wikileaks and related affairs in Iceland.

ESA