Thursday, March 15, 2012

Swedish Defense Ministry Official Used Personal Hotmail Account to Send Secret Information About Controversial Saudi Arms Deal

A high-ranking official at Sweden's defence ministry used her Hotmail account to report on highly confidential negotiations with Saudi Arabia concerning a controversial arms deal, according to a report in the daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The four-page long email, which details a secret conversation with a Saudi general, was sent in 2008 from assistant under-secretary Cecilia Looström at the Ministry of Defence, according to the paper. The subject: Sweden's involvement in building a secret Saudi arms factory.

The email recipients reportedly were a Swedish defense ministry colleague; a high ranking official at Sweden's foreign ministry; the director general of the Swedish Agency for Non-proliferation and Export Controls; and a senior official at the Swedish Defence Research Agency.

Looström used her personal email address, which, despite having a Swedish top-level Internet domain, ends up in a Microsoft email server in the United States, DN reported.

The Swedish Defense Research Agency is a member of Sweden's intelligence community. It is unclear if the Agency official who received the email took any action regarding what should have been an obvious security breach, or if the recipient noticed the use of a private account.

The email should also have come to the attention of the Swedish National Defense Radio Establishment, which provides IT security support services to the Swedish Security Service and other government agencies.