Definitions

Informationsbyrån

Informationsbyrån

Informationsbyrån (Information Office, IB) was a secret Swedish intelligence agency within the Swedish Armed Forces. Its main purpose was to gather information about communists and other individuals who were perceived to be a threat to the nation. The exposure of the IB operations came to be known as the IB affair (IB-affären).

In 2002 an extensive report, named Rikets säkerhet och den personliga integriteten (National security and personal integrity), was published on the operations of IB.

The revelation

Key persons leading to the exposure of the IB were journalists Jan Guillou and Peter Bratt, who revealed their findings in the magazine Folket i Bild/Kulturfront May 3, 1973:

Their revelations were that:

  • There was a secret intelligence agency in Sweden called the IB
  • That the Swedish riksdag (parliament) was unaware of its existence
  • People with leftist views had been monitored and registered
  • IB agents had infiltrated Swedish leftist organisations and sometimes tried to induce them into criminal acts
  • There were Swedish spies operating abroad
  • IB spies had broken into the Egyptian embassy in Stockholm
  • The IB co-operated with the CIA and Shin Bet of Israel

Defense minister Sven Andersson denied that Sweden had spies abroad. He also denied that IB was involved in burglaries and documenting citizens political opinions.

In the following issue of Folket i Bild they uncovered further activities of the IB and revealed in interviews with a man who had infiltrated the Swedish National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam organization and among other things, visited Jordanian guerilla camps. This man worked for IB and had composed reports that IB later passed on to the Israeli security services which resulted in the camps being bombed. That same issue exposed a Swedish naval captain who passed reports about the harbor security of Alexandria; and that a woman had on the orders of IB spied out potential bombing targets in Egypt.

The magazine also had information from a previous employee of IB, Håkan Isacsson, who claimed that IB had broken into two leftists organisation (FNL and KFML) members - a Jordanian citizen and a state-less citizen. A wiretap was installed in the latter case. After this revelation, the defense minister did admit that IB engaged in espionage outside of Sweden and infiltrated organisations within Sweden, including wiretaps.

Jan Guillou, Peter Bratt, Håkan Isacsson and the photographer Ove Holmqvist were arrested October 22, 1973 by the Swedish Security Service on suspicion of espionage. January 4, 1974 they were sentenced to 1 year prison each. Bratt and Guillou were sentenced for espionage, Isacsson was sentenced for espionage and accessory to espionage. After an appeal, Guillous sentence was lessened to 10 months. The Swedish Supreme court would not consider the case.

In November 1973 then Swedish prime minister Olof Palme denied any link between IB and the social democrats. According to the memoair of ex security service chief, P.G Vinges however, he claims that Birger Elmer had regular contact with Palme and made his reports regularly to the social democratic party secretary, Sven Andersson.

Evidence were put forth in 1974 that IB had built up a large network of agents in Finland, which included the Finnish foreign minister Väinö Leskinen. This network main mission was to gather information regarding the Soviet Union. IB had no contacts with the Finnish security police, since it was believed it was infiltrated with Soviet agents.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman investigated the IB organisation but came to the conclusion that they had not broken any laws. Concerning the breakins to the leftists organisation, the Ombudsman stated that since the personnel of IB had entered the premises using a key or a lockpick and had not stolen anything it could not be considered a crime.

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