The chief of Danish military intelligence is in big trouble

The chief of Danish military intelligence is in big trouble
The chief of Danish military intelligence is in big trouble

Danish newspapers revealed on Monday that one of the people involved in a large judicial investigation into the national secret services is Lars Findsen, head of the Defense Intelligence Service, the Danish military intelligence agency. Findsen is accused of illegally disseminating sensitive information along with three other intelligence members.

On the case – which all the main Danish newspapers are talking about – however, very little information is circulating, given its delicacy. However, several Danish newspapers write that Findsen’s arrest is linked to a major scandal that hit the Danish intelligence services between 2020 and 2021, when it was discovered that they had developed a very close relationship with the NSA, the main agency of United States national security. This report involved, for example, an extensive wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone, and according to some journalistic inquiries the sharing of a lot of sensitive information that Danish intelligence had collected about some Danish people.

Findsen has been in jail since 8 December, the day he was arrested along with four other members of Danish intelligence: only on Monday, however, a court allowed his involvement in the investigation to become public. Findsen is 57 years old and has long been one of the most important leaders of Danish intelligence: for the past twenty years he has been head of the police intelligence agency, head of department at the ministry and finally head of military intelligence, a position he holds since 2015.

There are not many details about the accusations against him: it is only known that the magistrates of the police intelligence agency accuse him of having violated an article of the penal code which provides for up to 12 years in prison for “disseminating highly confidential information”. According to Danish state TV DR the police intelligence agency essentially suspects that Findsen and some of his colleagues were the sources of the journalistic inquiries that in recent months have revealed many aspects of the collaboration between the Danish intelligence agencies and the NSA, which has caused a huge damage to the image for Danish intelligence.

Findsen’s case probably falls into the delicate gray area between two often conflicting needs: the protection of national security, even with operations at the limit of what is permitted by law, and a certain transparency that the state undertakes to guarantee. The story also touches on other important issues such as the publication in newspapers of sensitive information for national security, and the alleged violation of the privacy of private citizens by intelligence agencies.

A spokesperson for the Danish police intelligence agency told Reuters that the dissemination of highly confidential information can cause “serious or very serious consequences” for Denmark and the countries of the European Union and NATO.

Findsen pleaded innocent and told Danish reporters that he considers the allegations against him “absurd”. It is not known exactly how long the investigation will last and when, eventually, the trial will begin: Findsen will remain in prison until at least 3 February.

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