Danish spy service helped US collect intelligence on NATO allies, report claims

DDIS Denmark

A SECRET COOPERATION BETWEEN Danish and American intelligence agencies enabled the United States to collect intelligence on some of its closest European allies, according to a new report. Affected countries include Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, and Holland, according to Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and Danmarks Radio, Denmark’s public-service broadcaster. The two media outlets say they spoke to “several independent sources” who confirmed the allegations.

The revelations appear to be connected with the surprise firing of Lars Findsen, director of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE, or DDIS in English), in August of this year. It was reported at the time that Findsen was fired following a series of whistleblower revelations. However, almost nothing was released by the Danish government about the precise nature of the revelations. It was claimed that the revelations concerned “improper intelligence collection practices”.

It now appears that the whistleblower revelations concerned a secret intelligence collection agreement struck between the DDIS and the US National Security Agency (NSA) in 2008. According to the agreement the NSA would help the DDIS tap a number of fiber optic Internet cables that pass through Danish territory, in return for being given access to the content of intercepted traffic. This collaboration was physically facilitated at a data-processing center located on the Danish island of Amager, south of the Danish capital Copenhagen, which was allegedly built for that purpose.

In 2015, however, a Danish whistleblower approached the Danish Oversight Board, known as TET, which is responsible for supervising the work of Denmark’s intelligence agencies. The whistleblower alleged that the Amager data-processing center had been used by the NSA to spy on Danish targets, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. Moreover, a list of the keywords used by the NSA between 2012 and 2015 to flag Internet traffic allegedly suggests that the governments of Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and Holland were also targeted.

The revelation has prompted a heated political discussion in Denmark, while Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch authorities have launched investigations into the alleged spying. Some in Denmark are now calling for the Minister of Defense, Trine Bramsen, to release to the public a four-volume report produced by the TET about the alleged DDIS-NSA collaboration.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 17 November 2020 | Permalink

Danish military spy chief ‘relieved of duty’ following whistleblower revelations

Lars FindsenThe director of Denmark’s military intelligence service has been “relieved of duty for the time being”, following a series of whistleblower revelations, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense. Little is known about the precise nature of the revelations, but they are believed to relate to large-scale intelligence collection of information belonging to Danish citizens, which the spy agency is prohibited from accessing.

The news was revealed on Monday by the Danish Oversight Board, known as TET, which is responsible for supervising the work of Denmark’s intelligence agencies. The TET said that “whistleblower complaints” had revealed information that pointed to improper intelligence collection practices by the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE, or DDIS in English). Moreover, when confronted by the TET, the DDIS “withheld key information” about its collection practices and even gave “incorrect information relating to the collection and disclosure of information”, according to the watchdog.

The press release by the TET said that the DDIS had carried out “operational activities” that violated Danish law and violated the privacy of Danish citizens. It also said that the illegal “operational activities” had taken place “for as many as six years”. However, the watchdog added that, given the “classified content” of the intelligence service’s mission and activities, it could “not provide further information to the public”. It is believed, however, that the controversy involves a system of mass surveillance of telecommunications, which somehow collected information exchanged domestically between Danish citizens, or between them and foreign nationals. The DDIS is forbidden by law to spy on the domestic activities of Danes.

The Danish Ministry of Defense announced on Monday that DDIS Director Lars Findsen, had been “relieved of duty for the time being”, while officials investigated a multi-volume report produced by TET investigators about the alleged improprieties by the spy agency. The ministry added that two more senior DDIS officials had been placed on leave, but said they could not be named for reasons of national security.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 26 August 2020 | Permalink