From Iceland Review Online:
A 16-year-old Icelandic prankster, Vífill Atlason, called the Presidential Office of the White House the first weekend in December and requested a telephone meeting with George W. Bush as Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland.
After having answered a number of questions about Grímsson’s persona with the aid of Wikipedia, and being sent from operator to operator, Atlason was given contact with Bush’s private secretary and granted a telephone meeting with the president at 7 pm on December 3, Fréttabladid reports.
But at the last minute, White House officials noticed there was something fishy about the caller, and Atlason was paid a visit by the police in Akranes, where he lives, instead. US authorities were keen to find out how an Icelandic teenager could have known the secret telephone number of the White House Presidential Office.
Atlason claims not to remember where he got his hands on the telephone number. The teenage prankster does not expect to get into any legal trouble for his “light telephone prank.”
“I wasn’t rude and was addressed as ‘Mr. President’ by the White House staff over and over again. It was totally worth all the fuss,” Atlason said.
A White House representative told ABC that it is not particularly difficult to find the number Atlason had called; it is an unclassified number on the White House switchboard.
But hold on, kids! From World Bulletin:
A White House official, who asked not to be identified, denied the young man had accessed a private number but instead dialled 202-456-1414, the main switchboard for the West Wing.
Vífill’s mother, Harpa Hreinsdottir, a teacher at the local high school, said her son did, in fact, get through to a private phone.
“This was not a switchboard number of any kind,” she told ABC News, “it was a secret number at the highest security level.”
Vífill claims he was passed on to several people, each of them quizzing him on President Grímsson’s date of birth, where he grew up, who his parents were and the date he entered office.
“It was like passing through checkpoints,” he said. “But I had Wikipedia and a few other sites open, so it was not so difficult really.”
When he finally got through to President Bush’s secretary, Vífill alleges he was told to expect a call back from Bush.
“She told me the president was not available at the time, but that she would mark it in his schedule to call me back on Monday evening,” he said.
Instead, the police showed up at his home in Akranes, a fishing town about 48 kilometers from Reykjavik, and took him to the local police station, where they questioned the 16-year-old for several hours.
“The police chief said they were under orders from U.S. officials to “find the leak” — that I had to tell them where I had found the number,” he said. “Otherwise, I would be banned from ever entering the United States.”
It was just a switchboard number that anyone can get, but they had the authorities question him for several hours?
Atlason’s mother Harpa, who was not home at the time, said she was shocked to find her son had been taken away by the police but could not quite bring herself to be angry with her son.
“He’s very resourceful you know,” she said. “He has become a bit of a hero in Iceland. Bush is very unpopular here.”
When ABC verified the number, it was the Secret Service Uniform Division, which handles security for the president.
I wonder when the kid gets waterboarded.