What makes matters worse for the Swedish government is that it appears to have been deliberately trying to hush up the leak. Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist and Interior Minister Anders Ygeman reportedly knew about the suspicions as early as in early 2016, whereas Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson and none other than Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who reportedly were informed in early 2017.
During the grilling, the ministers appeared to be involved in a kind of blame game to downplay the apparent lack of communication. Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist admitted to learning of a Security Police (SÄPO) investigation of the Transport Agency's outsourcing problems in March 2016, yet claimed to have gotten the picture that "SÄPO and the Armed Forces were jointly acting on the matter," Swedish Radio reported.
"This is not the kind of information you can discuss during a coffee break. You have to be in special rooms to relay this kind of information. Instead, information has been distributed to relevant ministries via the channels available to spread information between departments," Anders Ygeman told the tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet, obviously blaming the failure to report the incident on the lack of premises.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who admittedly learned about the leak in early 2017, claimed that it was Anna Johansson's job to inform him of the incident, which she had been unable to do as she apparently had not had the necessary information herself. Johansson previously stated that her secretary failed to pass it on.
However, the Swedish opposition did not find this explanation particularly appealing.
"The fact that a responsible minister doesn't know what's happening within her own field provides no confidence at all," Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt told the Swedish TV-channel TV4.
Meanwhile, the IT leak seems to lead to no political consequences whatsoever, according to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who specifically stressed that he had confidence in all government councils, despite having himself used phrases as "flagrant deficiencies" and "breakdown," the Swedish news outlet Nyheter Idag reported.
So far, the only consequence of the IT scandal has been the firing of the Transport Agency's former director general Maria Ågren. Ågren stepped down from her post in January this year for reasons undisclosed, but has later admitted to violating data handling and was awarded a fine of 70,000 SEK ($8,000). At the same time, Ågren retained her salary, which may mean at least 4.8 million SEK ($600,000) until 2021, when her tenure formally runs out, the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen reported.
Meanwhile, Sweden's National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA) pointed out serious shortcomings in the government authorities, claiming that it takes professional hackers "only an hour" to get into their IT systems. FRA information manager Anni Bölenius told SVT that many authorities failed to meet elementary security demands.