Former Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen is accused of leaking state secrets. He announced this in a short press release. Sharing state secrets carries a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison in Denmark.
It has not been announced which state secrets are involved, but according to Danish media it probably revolves around information about tapping internet cables. Danish journalists have revealed that in this way the Danish secret service, in cooperation with the American intelligence service NSA, has been tapping European allies.
Last year, Danish media reported that then-Chancellor Merkel had been wiretapped with the help of the Danish secret service, leading to diplomatic tensions with Germany.
Damage of Denmark
Frederiksen admitted a year and a half ago that internet cables were tapped during his ministry, which lasted from 2016 to 2019. At that time he was no longer a minister, but a member of parliament for the liberal opposition party Venstre. The statements immediately aroused astonishment among experts, because they revealed very sensitive information.
In his press statement, Frederiksen says he does not want to say anything about the charges. However, the former minister writes that he would “never do anything that could harm Denmark or Danish interests”.
Frederiksen is a prominent politician. He was party secretary of Venstre for fifteen years. After that he was twice Minister of Finance and once Minister of Employment. He was also seen as the right-hand man of party leader Rasmussen, who was prime minister from 2009 to 2011 and from 2015 to 2019.
Intelligence chief arrested
The charges against Frederiksen follow the arrest of the former head of the military and foreign intelligence (FE), Lars Findsen. He has been in custody for a month for leaking state secrets. Three other intelligence officers were also arrested, but they have since been released.
Findsen allegedly leaked information to journalists. He denies that he did anything wrong. The ex-FE boss calls the charges against him “completely insane”. Today journalists from the public broadcaster DR were interrogated by the police. They were asked to reveal their sources, but that request was not granted.
Findsen was suspended as a spy chief in August 2020, because his service was careless with the data of Danish citizens. Last month, a commission of inquiry ruled that the secret service had operated within the framework of the law, after which Findsen’s suspension was lifted.