When he disclosed data, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the US operated a vast continuous eavesdropping operation in both its own country and around the world. The surveillance program used by the National Security Agency (NSA) was found to be illegal in the years following the ex-CIA contractor’s 2013 release. It’s still having an effect a decade after the discoveries.
A former Danish defense minister has been accused with leaking state secrets by assisting the CIA.
Consequences in Denmark
The Associated Press reported on February 21 that Claus Hjort Frederiksen, 75, is facing a variety of charges. The former defense minister retired last year, but his transition isn’t going as well as he had intended. Hjort Frederiksen was interviewed multiple times, and he alleged that the Danish Military Intelligence Service assisted the NSA in listening in on discussions between Norwegian, French, German, and Swedish politicians. The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) reported in 2021 that in 2014, the intelligence service investigated if the Danes collaborated with the NSA to spy on Denmark and its neighbors.
The probe, dubbed “Operation Dunhammer,” revealed that the NSA had been listening in on the political leaders of the countries in issue. After the operation was disclosed in 2021, various European countries requested to know why Denmark’s spy service assisted the United States.
According to the Associated Press, Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hulqvist said he wanted all “cards on the table,” calling eavesdropping on allies “unacceptable.” Close allies spying on one another is “wrong,” according to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Denmark’s government announced plans to charge Hjort Frederiksen in 2022. It requested that his immunity be revoked, but lawmakers declined since they didn’t know what the government suspected him of doing.
Hjort Frederiksen, who was charged with violating the criminal code over a year ago, blogged about the incident on social media on February 18. He indicated that his immunity vanished when he did not run for reelection.
In another article, Hjort Frederiksen acknowledged the indictment but stated that it is “classified as secret.” He denied knowing anything about state secrets.
According to the Associated Press, Prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen issued a statement saying the case includes confidential material that cannot be shared publicly. Although recognizing the public’s interest in the case, he stated that the prosecutor’s office feels “heavier consideration [must] be given to the work of the intelligence service.”