Swedish defence and security adviser? No such position in government, says Stockholm officials of Fox News' interviewee

NEW YORK • A man described as a "Swedish defence and national security adviser" appeared on Fox News last week to defend United States President Donald Trump's claim that criminal immigrants are wreaking havoc in Sweden.

But according to court records and Swedish officials, the man, identified as Nils Bildt, has a criminal record and no ties to Sweden's security establishment. In fact, he may not even be named Nils Bildt.

Mr Bildt's time in the spotlight began last Thursday, when he appeared on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor arguing that immigrants had caused a crime wave in Sweden.

"There is a problem with socially deviant activity, there is a problem with crime," said Mr Bildt. "These things are not being openly and honestly discussed" because Swedish politics is too "liberal", he added.

That argument has been heard on Fox News before, perhaps most famously during a segment on Feb 17 that inspired Mr Trump to claim at a rally the next day that there had been a terrorist attack in Sweden the night before.

"We don't know this guy," said Mr Mikael Abramsson, a spokesman for the Swedish military. "We have never heard of him in the Swedish armed forces, and he cannot speak on our behalf."

Mr Rasmus Eljanskog, a spokesman for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said no one by the name of Nils Bildt worked there.

And Mr Magnus Ranstorp, the head of terrorism research at the Swedish Defence University, said it was impossible for Mr Bildt to be a defence and national security adviser in Sweden.

"There is no such position in the Swedish hierarchy," he said.

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that Mr Bildt said the title "Swedish defence and national security adviser" was made up by a Fox News editor.

"I had no personal control over what title they chose," said Mr Bildt. "I am an independent analyst based in the US."

According to public records, Mr Bildt was born as Nils Tolling, is the son of the Swedish Equestrian Federation chairman, and went by that name as recently as May. He pursued a graduate degree in war studies at King's College London but dropped out in the first year, according to classmate Robert Egnell.

Prosecutors in Virginia charged him in 2014 with public drunkenness and assaulting a policeman. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, partly suspended.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2017, with the headline 'Swedish defence and security adviser? No such position in government, says Stockholm officials of Fox News' interviewee'. Print Edition | Subscribe