Could the Swedish verification procedure be a threat to NATO?

The discussion was over a fake officer among the Swedish armed forces. This man faked his diploma for graduating the Swedish Army School of Staff Work and Communications in 1999

Source: Reuters / TT News Agency

Sweden is one of NATO’s most reliable partners, NATO and Sweden actively cooperate in peace and security operations, and have developed practical cooperation in many other areas. An important priority is to develop interoperable capabilities and maintain the ability of the Swedish Armed Forces to work with those of NATO and other partner countries in multinational peace-support operations.


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January 23 Swedish minister of defense Peter Hultqvist and the supreme commander of Swedish armed forces Micael Byden spoke on defense committee of the Parliament.

The discussion was over a fake officer among the Swedish armed forces. This man faked his diploma for graduating the Swedish Army School of Staff Work and Communications in 1999. It is said that he started his trainings, but he never made it to the end. He got expelled for not having the certificate of graduating from high school.

During his service he trained staff for indoor combat operations as well as picked candidates for serving abroad. He also participated in abroad operations: Kosovo (as a captain), Afghanistan (as a major), he was responsible for data security. From 2007 to 2010, and in 2013 he served in Swedish military intelligence service (MUST).

Head of Military intelligence service general Lena Hallin said that this person poses no threat, for the classified data to be exposed. She also added that after the incident security measures had been restricted, yet she stressed that this wouldn’t spread elsewhere since such control over information is unwelcome in society.

In 2010 the false officer worked in SAAB (a defense company), where he had to work with Swedish army logistic agency. Also he completed security-important tasks related to cyber defense and scientific research.

NATO was informed that this person worked with secret communication systems in NATO’s European defense force from 2012 to 2013. During that period of time he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. He received a medal for serving in NATO’s system. His co-workers and chiefs mark him as a responsible and good officer.

From 2016 to 2018 he served in coast guard service. And in 2019 he returned to the armed forces. He was appointed as executive officer in Swedish HQ in Mali, but interesting facts came up and he was suspended. At this moment he is provided paid leave.

This situation underlines the problem of transferring information along with the problematic verification procedure. Answering to press’ question the man stressed that he did not get help from any foreign organizations and none asked him to deliver confidential information. No information leak took place, though such mistakes can easily weaken defense capabilities of NATO, considering its important role in Europe. Especially now, that peace and security stability are at stake. It is extremely important not to expose information that could somehow harm NATO economically or politically.

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