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Danish spy chief detained over 'highly sensitive' leak

January 10, 2022

The head of Denmark’s defense intelligence service, Lars Findsen, has been placed in custody over the leak of highly classified information.

Lars Findsen
Findsen was suspended in 2020 in a possible case of illegal spying on Danish citizens, but was clearedImage: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix/TT/picture alliance

The chief of Denmark's Defense Intelligence Service (FE), Lars Findsen, has been held in custody for more than a month over an apparent leak, it was revealed on Monday. 

Local media said the leak involved "highly sensitive" information. It follows allegations last year that Danish intelligence colluded with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on European leaders and private Danish citizens.

What do we know so far?

The news only emerged at a hearing behind closed doors at Copenhagen Magistrate's Court, when a publication ban was lifted. Findsen's name was revealed at his own request.

It emerged that four current and former employees of the two Danish intelligence services — foreign and domestic — had been detained for leaking highly sensitive information.

Findsen was the only one of them to remain in custody as the investigation proceeds.

"I want the charges brought forward and I plead not guilty. This is completely insane," Findsen told reporters at the hearing.

Public broadcaster DR cited unnamed sources as saying the case related to the leaking of classified information to Danish media outlets.

In 2020, DR reported that the FE had shared raw information cable data with the NSA. As a result, it said, the NSA may have had access to Danish citizens' personal data and private communications.

Authorities have published very little information on the investigation, which is being conducted behind closed doors. The exact charges and the content of the leaked information has not been made public.

It was unclear how long Findsen will be kept in custody, although he was said to have been already detained for more than a month. The Danish public prosecutor's office has declined to comment on the case.

Denmark helped US spy on Germany

Denmark has two intelligence agencies, the Police Intelligence Service (PET) and the FE, focusing respectively on domestic and foreign intelligence.

Findsen, 52, headed PET from 2002 to 2007 and the FE from 2015 to 2020, when he was suspended over an internal report. The document criticized a possible case of illegal spying on Danish citizens, although Findsen was recently cleared by a commission.

rc/rt (Reuters, dpa, EFE)

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