Ex-director of Danish spy agency charged with treason in ‘unprecedented’ case

Lars FindsenIN A CASE THAT observers have described as “unprecedented”, the recently dismissed director of Denmark’s external intelligence agency has been charged with committing acts of treason against the state. Lars Findsen directed the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE, or DDIS in English) from 2015 until his sudden dismissal in 2020. Prior to that, he directed the DDIS’ domestic counterpart, namely the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, or DSIS. As intelNews reported at the time, Findsen was dismissed from his DDIS post in August of 2020. His dismissal was announced with a brief statement by the Danish Ministry of Defense, which said simply that Findsen had been “relieved of duty for the time being”, pending an investigation.

Now it has been revealed that Findsen was among four current and former members of the DDIS and the DSIS, who were arrested last month. The Danish government made use of an obscure secrecy clause to bar the nation’s media from reporting the arrests. As a result, Findsen’s whereabouts were not known until Monday, when a court lifted the reporting ban after an early-morning closed-door hearing. Shortly afterwards, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, Denmark’s public broadcaster, reported that Findsen was arrested on the morning of December 8, 2021, at the Copenhagen Airport.

According to the report, Findsen has been charged with acts of treason related to disclosing state secrets to Danish journalists. Back in 2020, intelNews reported that Findsen’s dismissal was likely related to a damning assessment that had been issued by the Danish Oversight Board, known as TET, which is responsible for overseeing the work of Denmark’s spy agencies. The assessment had blasted the DDIS for effectively lying about its intelligence-collection practices while in full knowledge that they were in violation of Danish privacy law. Later that year, however, Danish intelligence agencies were severely criticized, after reports surfaced that they had secretly helped the United States spy on Western countries, including France, Sweden, Germany and Holland.

The above revelation have prompted strong criticism of the Danish spy services all over Europe. But it is not known whether Findsen’s arrest is connected with any of them. Reports said last night that the other three current and former intelligence personnel who were arrested alongside Findsen had been released on bail. Findsen, however, remains in detention, and faces charges that carry a 12-year prison sentence. Speaking to reporters following his court arraignment, Findsen said he looked forward to the opportunity to dispute the charges against him, which he described as “absolutely insane”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 12 January 2022 | 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

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