Danish Commission absolves secret services of Cold War violations

Leif Aamand

Leif Aamand

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. In 1999, the Danish government set up the Police Intelligence Service (PET) Commission to review PET’s practice of keeping files on Danish citizens during the Cold War. After ten years, 4,600 pages and $13 million in public funds, the Commission has announced that PET’s activities during the Cold War largely fell within its mandate and that the organization was “never […] a state [with]in a state that acted according to its own norms”. The Commission concluded this despite discovering that PET systematically violated a September 1968 government decree preventing government departments from keeping files on Danish citizens based on their legal political activities. The Commission’s report reveals that the violation was authorized by a secret memorandum from the Danish Ministry of Justice, which allowed PET to continue its political vetting of Danish citizens. As a result, PET amassed detailed files on approximately 300,000 Danes, targeting mostly “Trotskyists, anarchists and left-wing revolutionary groups”, as well as members of Denmark’s Left Socialist Party. The files were reportedly updated until 1989. Moreover, the Commission’s report dismissed claims by former Justice Minister, Knud Thestrup, that PET secretly microfilmed its entire collection of files on Danish citizens in the late 1960s and deposited the microfilms at the vaults of the Danish Embassy in Washington, in order to secure them from possible destruction by law-abiding Danish government officials. The commission, which comprised of four academics and a High Court Judge, was headed by Professor Leif Aamand, who said he and his team had “done our job and I support every word we have written”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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