Swedish officials claim they are unaware of the man Fox News claimed was a "Swedish defense and national security advisor" on a recent segment of The O'Reilly Factor. Photo by Fox News/YouTube/screengrab
Feb. 25 (UPI) -- In response to criticism from "left wing people," Bill O'Reilly admitted his program made a mistake by deciding to title and introduce guest Nils Bildt as a "Swedish defense and national security advisor."
"Bildt does consulting work on terrorism, that's true -- but we should have clarified that he had no direct role with the Swedish government," O'Reilly said in a statement.
Bildt was one of two Swedes featured on the The O'Reilly Factor last Thursday. The guests debated whether or not refugees and immigration have influenced crime rates in the Scandinavian country. One of the guests, Nils Bildt, was described -- both verbally by Bill O'Reilly and in text on the screen -- as a "Swedish defense and national security advisor."
Members of the media questioned the expertise of Bildt and his relationship to the Swedish government. Officials with Sweden's foreign and defense ministries confirmed Nils holds no official position within the Swedish government.
"We have no spokesman by that name," said Marie Pisäter, an official with the Swedish Defense Ministry.
Now, O'Reilly admits the title was misleading.
"We looked into the situation and the criticism is valid," O'Reilly said. "It's valid."
The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported Friday that Bildt moved to the U.S. from Sweden in 1994. The paper determined his original surname was Tolling, and that he was convicted of a violent crime in Virginia in 2014.
Bildt is one of the founders of an international consulting firm called Modus World LLC, which according to its website specializes in "operations and management of possible kidnap and ransom situations."
Bildt told reporters he never misrepresented himself.
"I made clear that I am an independent analyst," Bildt told DN.
Fox contends the information offered during the segment was legitimate.
"To be fair, the information we gave you in the segment was accurate," O'Reilly said, "but in hindsight a more relevant guest should have been used on the anti-immigrant side."
According to O'Reilly, the first choice for Bildt's chair was the Swedish Ambassador, Björn Lyrvall, but he declined the invitation.
Last week, Trump referenced a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.