Sweden investigates US surveillance


Sweden is investigating to see whether the US embassy has committed any crime by carrying out surveillance measures, the prosecutor's office said today in a case similar to one that has blown up in neighbouring Norway.

The probe to see if illegal intelligence gathering has taken place was launched after the Swedish Security Police at the weekend confirmed the US embassy had a surveillance system in place since 2000, without informing the local authorities.

The Swedish office of public prosecution said in a statement that a preliminary probe had been opened to see whether the US measures constituted a crime and to see who had carried out such a crime, if one had been committed.

"The investigation concerns American measures to protect the US embassy in Stockholm and American personnel," the statement said.

The US embassy in Stockholm said in a statement at the weekend that it did have a program to detect suspicious activities around its facilities. It said the system was neither secret nor an intelligence program.

The issue first came up in Norway last week when television network TV2 reported that a team of US agents and retired Norwegian security officers had been conducting illegal systematic surveillance from a base near the US embassy in Oslo.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has said it is seeking an explanation from the US side.