White House, this is Iceland calling

Last week Vifill Atlason, a 16 year old high school student in Iceland, picked up the phone and placed a call to the White House. Atlason claimed to be Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the President of Iceland, and managed to set up a phone meeting with George Bush.

Atlason told ABC News: “I just wanted to talk to him, have a chat, invite him to Iceland and see what he’d say.”

Atlason alleges he obtained George Bush’s direct telephone number but this has been denied by White House official who said that Atlason only reached the general switchboard number on 202-456-1414.

Atlason says that he spoke with several people who asked him questions in order to verify his identify, such as President Grimsson’s date of birth and other personal information.

“It was like passing through checkpoints,” he said. “But I had Wikipedia and a few other sites open, so it was not so difficult really.”

Finally Atlason spoke with the secretary for President Bush who told him that Bush would call him back. “She told me the president was not available at the time, but that she would mark it in his schedule to call me back on Monday evening,” he said.

Rather than a phone call, Atlason got a knock on the door in his hometown of Akranes from Icelandic police who questioned him for several hours.

“The police chief said they were under orders from US officials to “find the leak” – that I had to tell them where I had found the number,” said Atlason. “Otherwise I would be banned from ever entering the United States.”

No charges have been brought against the boy who was released into his parent’s custody. “He’s very resourceful you know,” said his mother, Harpa. “He has become a bit of a hero in Iceland. Bush is very unpopular here.”

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