Swedish authorities have denied knowledge of the man labeled "Swedish defense and national security adviser" on "The O'Reilly Factor." Appearing on Fox News, the analyst lamented Stockholm's failings on immigration.
The appearance of a man identified on US TV channel Fox News as a "Swedish defense and national security adviser" and introduced in the same way by the conservative host Bill O'Reilly has Swedes scratching their heads.
The man, Nils Bildt, spoke about crime and "socially deviant activity" in Swedish cities and decried the authorities' alleged failure to integrate immigrants in the European country. Bildt also slammed the "completely false" debate on migration in Sweden.
The segment on Thursday also featured a US correspondent for the Swedish "Expressen" newspaper, Anne-Sofie Naslund.
'We don't know who he is'
On the next day, however, both the Swedish Defense Ministry and the nation's Foreign Office denied any links with Bildt.
"We have no spokesman by that name," Marie Pisäter at the Defense Ministry told the newspaper "Dagens Nyheter," adding that no one under the name of Nils Bildt worked there. The Foreign Office stated the same.
"We do not know who he is," it told the Swedish daily.
Many Swedish social media users ridiculed the apparent blunder online.
Newspaper claims Bildt is a felon
According to "Dagens Nyheter," Nils Bildt was born in Sweden as Nils Tolling and emigrated in 1994. He changed his name in the early 2000s and later opened several security companies in the US. The newspaper also cites documents from Arlington General District Court in the US state of Virginia suggesting that Bildt was arrested in the US for assaulting a law enforcement official, public inebriation, and obstruction of justice. According to the papers, he was convicted to a year in prison in 2014.
Bildt, however, disputes having served time in jail. In an email to "Dagens Nyheter," he said he was "unaware of the allegations" and therefore could not comment.
Commenting on the identification issue, Bildt said that the title was chosen by a Fox News editor.
"I had no personal control over what title they chose. I am an independent analyst based in the USA," he wrote.
Fox News said that O'Reilly was expected to address the issue on his show on Monday.
Sweden back in focus
This is the second time in a week that Swedes felt themselves forced to react to misinformation in the US media. Last Saturday, US President Donald Trump decried a mysterious incident in Sweden, apparently blaming it on immigration and invoking a Fox News report. While no incident of any great note took place in the country on Friday, Trump supporters pointed to a migrant riot in Stockholm three days later as evidence that the US president was right.
Last year, a US court sentenced a man who repeatedly appeared as "terrorism analyst" on Fox News for lying about working for the CIA. Sixty-two-year-old Wayne Simmons falsely portrayed himself as "Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer" for the CIA from 1973 to 2000 and defrauded the US government to get work as a team leader in an army program. During his alleged time in the agency, Simmons actually worked as a nightclub doorman, bookie, manager of a rent-by-the-hour hot tub business, mortgage broker and defensive back for the NFL team New Orleans Saints, according to US prosecutors cited by the Reuters news agency.