Danish intelligence chief detained over alleged information leaks – media reports

COPENHAGEN, January 10 (Reuters) – The head of the Danish Foreign Intelligence Unit, Lars Findsen, has been remanded in custody over his involvement in a case of “highly classified” information leaks, the public broadcaster reported on Monday DR.

The two Danish intelligence services have been in disarray since four current and former employees were arrested in December on alleged leaks of highly classified information, a case that could tarnish the reputation of agencies abroad. Read more

Findsen is the only one remaining in detention while the investigation continues. The news, reported by DR and other local media, emerged during a court hearing on Monday when a publication ban was lifted.

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“I want the charges laid and I plead not guilty. This is utter nonsense,” Findsen told reporters at the hearing, where a judge ruled to extend Findsen’s custody until February 4, according to the Ritzau news wire.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the case and Reuters was unable to immediately contact Findsen or his lawyer.

The case, about which authorities have released very little information, is being held behind closed doors, meaning the exact charges and the nature of the information disclosed have not been made public.

The four intelligence officials have been charged with violating a section of the penal code, which includes treason, by “disclosing highly classified information,” the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) told Reuters on Monday.

Highly classified information can cause Denmark or the countries of the European Union or NATO “serious or extremely serious damage” if the information is transmitted, he said.

The maximum penalty for such an offense is 12 years in prison.

According to DR, who cited anonymous sources, the case revolves around leaks of classified information to Danish media.

DR reported in 2020 that the Danish Defense Intelligence Service shared raw data from information cables with the United States National Security Agency, meaning the NSA may have gained access to personal data and communications. deprived of Danish citizens.

Last year, several other national media published reports on Danish intelligence activities on the basis of confidential information.

In another case, Findsen and four other intelligence officials were suspended in August 2020 after an independent council overseeing the intelligence unit laid charges of serious wrongdoing. Last month, the charges were dismissed by a commission of inquiry and the suspensions were lifted.

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Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Angus MacSwan and Grant McCool

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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