In a complaint filed with the Data Protection Authority, a copy of which was forwarded to Grapevine, four of the six MPs recorded in the Klausturgate recordings have accused the woman who leaked these recordings to the press, Bára Halldórsdóttir, of having disguised herself as a tourist in order to sit close to the MPs and record them surreptitiously without arousing suspicion.
The complaint as a whole is extensive. It demands access to security cam footage at the bar Klaustur, where both Bára and the MPs were situated on the evening in question; that the entire evening falls under the purview of official parliamentary business, making it illegal to record the proceedings; that because Bára is not a journalist, these recordings are not protected by Iceland’s laws on freedom of expression; and that Bára must have had accomplices on the scene.
However, the most striking accusation of all is their contention that Bára deliberately disguised herself as a tourist before entering the bar, in order to record the MPs involved without arousing suspicion. This disguise was comprised of having and reading “a brochure on Icelandic day tours and popular tourist spots”, which she is accused of also using to conceal her phone.
This is a bold accusation to make, but is based on the presumption that Bára knew the MPs in question would not only be at Klaustur bar at that time, but also that she knew they would be saying things that would be professionally and personally damaging for them. Bára herself actually addressed this accusation in a recent interview with Grapevine.
“People have pointed out that it’s kind of impossible that I could have planned this,” she told us. “It just doesn’t work that way that I’d think, ‘A ha! At that point in time, they will be saying horrible things and I shall be recording them!’ I do not have such powers—even though I do read Tarot cards for Rauða skáldahúsið—I’m not that powerful that I can induce people to speak at my will. I’d be very rich if I were that good.”
A ruling from the Data Protection Authority is still pending at the time of this writing.