U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik monitoring Icelandic citizens

The U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik has admitted to being involved in Surveillance Detection Unit (SDU), which basically involves broadening security surveillance beyond the embassy building and into the immediate surrounding area.

According to RUV, SDUs have also been conducted in Norway, Sweden and Finland and local authorities have demanded explanations from the U.S.. According to reports made by  Norwegian media, teams of 15-20 have been spying on Norwegian citizens since 2000 with the permission of the U.S Embassy in Norway. Reports also claim that Norwegian police officers have often been involved with the SDU teams and have apparently been ‘paid under the table’.

Laura Gritz, U.S. Embassy spokesman, confirmed the news that SDUs are also being used in Iceland but stressed that “SDUs are neither secretive nor spying. SDUs aren’t put in place to work against the host country or its citizens. The purpose is solely to monitor any suspicious activity in-and-around the embassy.”

According to the Foreign Office, no data in the ministry has been found to indicate that these kind of operations have been discussed with Icelandic authorities. However, Gritz added, “U.S. authorities be more than willing to discuss these matters further with Icelandic officials, but those interactions would not take place in the media.”

Alfheidur Ingadottir, Vice-Chairman of the Left Green Movement’s Parliamentary Group, has asked for an investigation into the matter and submitted a number of questions that she wants U.S. officials to answer to.

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