Denmark is suing former minister for leaking state secrets

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Claus Frederiksen
NOS News

Denmark has charged former defense minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen with leaking state secrets. Frederiksen himself announced this. He strongly denies the allegations.

“I dispute that I have exceeded the limits of my extensive freedom of expression as a politician and I have not disclosed any alleged state secrets. Period,” he writes on Facebook.

“The suspect has been charged on the basis of a rarely used criminal law article and can receive up to 12 years in prison,” the prosecutor said, without mentioning Frederiksen by name. The indictment states that he “disclosed or leaked state secrets on several occasions”.

The liberal Frederiksen was Minister of Defense from 2016 to 2019. A preliminary indictment was already filed last year. According to him, the indictment is the result of interviews he gave to Danish media after his ministry. In it he pointed to the usefulness of cooperation between the Danish and American intelligence services. The Public Prosecution Service believes that he has been too loose-spoken in this.

Undersea cables come together near Denmark, making the country a strategic internet hub. The NSA used Danish internet cables to wiretap top politicians from countries such as Germany, France, Sweden and Norway, including Chancellor Angela Merkel. Among other things, e-mails, text messages and telephone conversations have been tapped. This came to light at the end of 2020 through revelations from a whistleblower.

The dismissed boss of the Danish foreign security service was charged in September on the same grounds. He also denied that he had done anything wrong.

“It was common knowledge that the collaboration existed since 2013,” says Frederiksen in the newspaper BT “So who revealed this? The Americans themselves, because it was documents from the NSA that Snowden published.” He refers to Wikileaks, the case in which the American whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the NSA’s eavesdropping program in 2014.

Frederiksen (75) retired from politics last year. He thus lost his diplomatic immunity and can now be prosecuted. “I had imagined my retirement differently,” he says on Facebook.

  • Germany asks for clarification of espionage case Denmark
  • ‘Danish secret service helped Americans eavesdrop on Chancellor Merkel’
  • Abroad

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