From Iceland — Leaks About Private Matters Are "Very Common" In Administration, Says PM

Leaks About Private Matters Are “Very Common” In Administration, Says PM

Published January 2, 2015

On Stöð 2’s New Year’s Eve talk show, Kryddsíld, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said that leaks from within ministries and public institutes are “very common in Iceland, often leaks about matters concerning people’s private matters”. The Minister stated this when asked about the case of the memo which leaked from the Interior Ministry, late 2013, leading, a year later, to the Minister’s resignation.

The Prime Minister said that admittedly things looked different in hindsight than while events were in full swing. He said that he presumed that if Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, the former Interior Minister, had foreseen how the case would develop, she might have done many things differently. As an example he said that she might not have conducted her communication with the Police in the way she did. He then continued:

“It was, however, very unusual that a case of a leak became such a big police affair. It is not uncommon that leaks take place from within ministries or public institutes. It is actually very common in Iceland. Often these are leaks concerning people’s private affairs. That has never before led to an affair like this. That is why the Minister probably did not foresee how big it would become. That is why that must have surprised her.”

Kryddsíld 2014

At this point the Minister was interrupted by the TV host and other party leaders present. Sigmundur can be heard adding: “Not least during the last term, when people had special leakers, as has been witnessed …”

Guðmundur Steingrímsson, member of Alþingi on behalf of Bright Future, repeated the statement as a question: “Are leaks about people’s private affairs commons?” The Minister replied: “Not now, no, but they have been”:

According to Vísir, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, former Finance Minister and current member of Alþingi on behalf of the Left Greens has called for the Prime Minister to give examples to support “this absurd statement”.

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