In a new interview, former Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson spoke frankly about his confrontation with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when they touched down in Iceland more than five years ago.
The interview, conducted by EU analysis site Katoikos, spans a wide range of subject matter, from the Pirate Party to the economic crash. However, one particular part of the interview has caught the attention of Icelandic media: Ögmundur’s clash with the FBI.
Ögmundur confirmed that again this confrontation was true, and filled in the details:
What happened was that in June 2011, US authorities made some approaches to us indicating they had knowledge of hackers wanting to destroy software systems in Iceland. I was a minister at the time. They offered help. I was suspicious, well aware that a helping hand might easily become a manipulating hand!
Later in the summer, in August, they sent a planeload of FBI agents to Iceland seeking our cooperation in what I understood as an operation set up to frame Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
Since they had not been authorised by the Icelandic authorities to carry out police work in Iceland and since a crack-down on WikiLeaks was not on my agenda, to say the least, I ordered that all cooperation with them be promptly terminated and I also made it clear that they should cease all activities in Iceland immediately.
It was also made clear to them that they were to leave the country. They were unable to get permission to operate in Iceland as police agents, but I believe they went to other countries, at least to Denmark. I also made it clear at the time that if I had to take sides with either WikiLeaks or the FBI or CIA, I would have no difficulty in choosing: I would be on the side of WikiLeaks.
It has been known since at least 2013 that Ögmundur had squared off the US authorities over Wikileaks. However, this is the first time that additional details of why the FBI was here and what they intended to do have been revealed.
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