No Evidence Of Wrongdoing In US Embassy Surveillance Case

Published December 8, 2011

The state prosecutor’s office has concluded that the US embassy in Iceland broke no Icelandic laws when conducting a Surveillance Detection Unit (SDU) that aroused controversy last year.
Last November, the US embassy admitted engaging in SDUs in Iceland. An SDU is essentially extending security surveillance from beyond the building of the embassy itself and into the neighbourhood around it. A Norwegian blogger added to this explanation in more detail, saying in part “the SDU will be stationed outside the embassy, working in plain clothes and will do its best not to be noticed or seen as having anything to do with the embassy. The members will normally be recruited from police or military intelligence, and are usually very experienced in their chosen field. They will actively follow, photograph, videotape and monitor persons that they deem to be deserving of that treatment.”
Embassy spokesperson Laura Gritz emphasised though that SDUs are “neither secret nor spying. It is not used against a host country or its citizens. It is simply to watch for suspicious activity within the vicinity of the embassy and its employees.” US Ambassador to Iceland Luis E. Arreaga-Rodas reiterated this, explaining on the news show Kastljósið that the US has no reason to spy on Icelanders, as the US and Iceland are friends. He added that the SDU is just a security measure, designed to save lives, focused exclusively on suspicious activity.
Nonetheless, the Ministry of Justice refered the matter to the state prosecutor for review. Vísir now reports that the state prosecutor has found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the US embassy.
The state prosecutor said that there was furthermore nothing to indicate that embassy employees, or anyone the embassy hired, broke any Icelandic laws in conducting SDUs. As such, the office found no need to pursue the matter further, and the case has been dropped.



News
“The Icelandic People Are My Hope Now” – Afghan Mother & Daughter Still In Peril

“The Icelandic People Are My Hope Now” – Afghan Mother & Daughter Still In Peril

by

A group of Icelanders arrived at the Ministry of the Interior today to hand over a petition of some 3,300

News
Pirates And Conservatives Neck-And-Neck

Pirates And Conservatives Neck-And-Neck

by

The latest poll from Market and Media Research shows the two parties at a statistical tie, and it is still

News
The Cave Tamer

The Cave Tamer

by

Raufarhólshellir, the third largest lava tunnel in Iceland, is easily accessible from Reykjavík: after a 35km drive, it’s simple to

News
Man Dies Fearing His Insurance Company Would Drop Coverage

Man Dies Fearing His Insurance Company Would Drop Coverage

by

A British man who died from injuries sustained from falling from a horse in Iceland did not disclose to medical

News
More Names Approved For Icelandic Lexicon

More Names Approved For Icelandic Lexicon

by

The Naming Committee has approved a new batch of names, one of which came through with eerie timing. Vísir reports

News
EA Sports May Include Iceland In FIFA 18

EA Sports May Include Iceland In FIFA 18

by

Shortly after news broke that EA Sports would not include Iceland in FIFA 17, the company initiated informal talks with

Show Me More!