Key US Witness Against Assange Arrested in Iceland

It’s unclear if Thordarson recanting his testimony is related to his arrest.  He said the FBI promised not to tell Iceland about crimes he committed there, but also said the deal would be off if he lied, reports Joe Lauria.

Sigurdur Thordarson on board a helicopter in New York City, March 2011. (Wikimedia Commons).

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

A key U.S. witness in the conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge against imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange who earlier this year admitted to fabricating evidence he gave to the FBI has been arrested in Iceland, according to a report in the Icelandic newsmagazine Stundin.

Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson was arrested in Reykjavík on Sept. 24 and put in Iceland’s highest security prison under a “rarely invoked” law that allows police in Iceland to detain someone considered to be in the middle of crime spree, Stundin reported.

Thordarson “was brought before a judge after police requested indefinite detention intended to halt an ongoing crime spree. The judge apparently agreed that Thordarson’s repeated, blatant and ongoing offences against the law put him at high risk for continued re-offending,” Stundin said. Thordarson admitted in an interview with Stundin last month that he was engaged in ongoing criminal activity.

Thordarson admitted in an earlier interview with Stundin in June that he lied to the FBI about Assange directly ordering hacking operations — a key element of the U.S. computer charge against the WikiLeaks founder.  Thordarson was granted immunity by the FBI against prosecution in exchange for becoming an FBI informant in a sting against WikiLeaks in 2010. 

It is not clear if Thordarson recanting his testimony is related to his recent arrest.  In his September interview Thordarson said the FBI promised not to reveal to Icelandic authorities any crimes he committed in Iceland in exchange for his cooperation.

Stundin reported:

“It is not clear to what extent the Icelandic authorities were informed about these arrangements, if at all. Indeed Thordarson claims he was assured by the FBI that no information would be shared with the Icelandic police about crimes he committed in Iceland, particularly the hacking attempts against Icelandic institutions.

Siggi: ‘My worry was that if I told them who was hacked and how, like Landsvirkjun and the government’s website and all that, I would become a target of Icelandic authorities.’

Reporter: ‘Why?’

Siggi: “Eventually I asked if they [Icelandic authorities] would get access to the data I talked about and they [the FBI] just said no, that would never happen. That was the only discussion I had with the FBI about Icelandic authorities.'”

But Thordarson also said if he lied to the FBI the immunity deal would be off.

“Reporter: ‘The amount of pressure you are under, mental and physical, from the FBI. If you aren’t cooperating 110% you are simply f—ked.’

Siggi: ‘They would have already revoked this immunity deal if I was lying.’

Reporter: ‘Is that really so?’

Siggi: ‘Yes!’

Reporter: ‘Because they are basing a lot on just your word.’

Siggi: ‘It’s stated many times in my agreement that if I were to be caught out lying, just one false word, the immunity agreement would be revoked. And they could proceed with prosecuting me.'”

In the Assange Indictment

Thordarson, 28, is referred to as “Teenager” in the part of the U.S. indictment against Assange that focuses on events in Iceland, where Assange was working in 2010. It is key testimony in the computer intrusion charge against Assange, testimony which Thordarson has recanted.

The indictment alleges that, “In early 2010, ASSANGE asked Teenager to commit computer intrusions and steal additional information, including audio recordings of phone conversations between high-ranking officials of the government of NATO Country-I, [Iceland] including members of the Parliament of NATO Country-I.” 

But Thordarson told Stundin in June that this is a lie. The publication reported:

“In fact, Thordarson now admits to Stundin that Assange never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs. His new claim is that he had in fact received some files from a third party who claimed to have recorded MPs and had offered to share them with Assange without having any idea what they actually contained. He claims he never checked the contents of the files or even if they contained audio recordings as his third party source suggested. He further admits the claim, that Assange had instructed or asked him to access computers in order to find any such recordings, is false.”

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

 

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9 comments for “Key US Witness Against Assange Arrested in Iceland

  1. October 9, 2021 at 17:35

    THEY ARE ALL , FBI ICELAND GOVT., SWEDISH UK NATO ….ALL HIDING THE TRUTH OF OFFICIAL CRIMES ,CORRUPTION ,ETC JUST TO KEEP THE TRUTH UNDER WRAP. THORDARSON WILL BE SHUT UP LIKE ASSANGE . SO THE TRUTH STAYS LOCKED UP. THIS IS WHAT USA CALL DEMOCRACY AND WHY SO MUCH IS SPENT IN SECRET ORGANISATIONS CIA MI5 ETC TO KEEP GOVERNMENT CRIMES SECRET IN CLASSIFIED RECORDS.

  2. October 8, 2021 at 20:30

    Is there any truth anywhere?

  3. Guy
    October 8, 2021 at 17:33

    I have to wonder if the man will achieve a long life .

  4. Daniel
    October 8, 2021 at 09:34

    Reporting on the serious matter of Mr. Assange’s prosecution and life-threatening mistreatment is vital, as is all of the reporting here and on other sites driven by journalistic integrity and a just moral compass. But the disconnect between what the reporting shows and what actually occurs in our bizarro fun-house mirror of a world is maddening and widening with each each day. And one could be forgiven for, considering the reporting, coming to the conclusion that our overlords are actually malevolent actors. Do we have the courage to wrestle from their twisted souls the reigns of power they are abusing?

    • October 8, 2021 at 13:30

      One would Hope! The means could be participatory democracy.

    • October 9, 2021 at 17:44

      DANIEL HAS SAID IT FOR ME . CANNOT BELIEVE THESE PEOPLE IN AUTHORITIES NOW, THEY ARE ALL HYPOCRITES AND DANGEROUS CRIMINALS.

  5. October 7, 2021 at 17:12

    Hmmm, the Deep State has long roots and an eidetic memory, shared with few unless tortured into incomprehensible babble by its corporate media tools. Wonder what will happen to Mr. Thordarson, not for his criminal activities but for recanting his perjured testimony. I also wonder what will happen to Iceland.

  6. Schcl
    October 7, 2021 at 14:08

    But of course this will not even appear in the appeal since all the charges have been accepted and the issue is now just whether the US high security jail is likely to endanger his life.

    • chet380
      October 8, 2021 at 15:08

      If the US is permitted to adduce new evidence in the appeal proceedings, why wouldn’t this important new evidence be permitted?

      At the very least, an application to include this evidence should be very vigourously pursued so that the appeal judges would be aware of this seemingly-damning evidence, one way or the other. As well, the media coverage of such an application would provoke a substantial public response.

Comments are closed.