Ex-minister charged with revealing state secrets

Ex-minister charged with revealing state secrets

The case involves joint spying operations by US and Danish intelligence services, which reportedly eavesdropped on Western leaders

Denmark’s former defense minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen has been charged with leaking state secrets, after claiming that Danish military intelligence worked with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on a number of foreign officials, including former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Frederiksen confirmed the allegations in a Facebook posts on Tuesday, says he had been charged with “revealing or passing on state secrets.” He insisted on his innocence, but claimed the charges were motivated by politics

“I deny that I have overstepped the bounds of my far-reaching freedom of speech as a politician, and I have not disclosed alleged state secrets. Period.” he said, adding “I will demand a jury trial, because this is a political case.”

Danish officials declined to cite Frederiksen by name when discussing the allegations, and prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen said the case “includes highly classified information that cannot be presented openly.”

Although the details of the state secrets indictment remain secret, after facing preliminary charges last year, Frederiksen suggested the case was linked to public comments he made regarding joint surveillance missions involving Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Agency and the NSA. In several media interviews in 2020 and 2021, Frederiksen said the Danish agency helped the NSA wiretap senior officials in France, Germany, Norway and Sweden – including Germany’s then-Chancellor Angela Merkel and several of her political rivals.

Although the NSA’s part in the spying was exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden – who leaked a huge trove of classified documents while working as a private contractor in 2013 – Denmark’s role only came to light the day after. media reportswhich cited a confidential Danish intelligence review conducted after the Snowden revelations.

Frederiksen was Minister of Defense between 2016 and 2019 and later entered politics under Denmark’s Liberal Party. However, he retired from public life last year, meaning his parliamentary immunity has ended and he can now be prosecuted.

No trial date has been set for the former official, who faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

READ MORE: China can spy through household appliances, report warns

Source: sn.dk

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