Former defense minister charged (again) with revealing state secrets

Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Minister of Defense from 2016 to 2019, was yesterday charged with sharing state secrets. The 75-year-old retired member of the Liberal Party has pleaded not guilty.

“It is, of course, serious when highly classified information – which is protected by a confidentiality policy and which is crucial for the intelligence service’s work to protect Denmark – is passed on to unauthorized persons,” explained the prosecutor.

“It can damage relations with intelligence service partners, weaken confidence in the intelligence services and make it more difficult for them to do their jobs.”

Parliamentary immunity
Frederiksen was charged under the same section of the Criminal Code over a year ago, but the case was thrown out because members of the Norwegian Parliament have ‘parliamentary immunity’, which protects them from criminal prosecution, arrest and imprisonment.

There was then a vote in the Folketing on whether Frederiksen’s immunity should be lifted, but a majority voted that it should not.

Having retired over the past year, Frederiksen no longer enjoys parliamentary immunity. The Attorney General subsequently recommended that Minister of Justice Peter Hummelgaard Thomsen bring charges.

Another closed door box
As the case concerns highly classified information, despite great public interest, the prosecution has also asked to be heard behind closed doors.

Last year, the former head of the PET intelligence service, Lars Findsen, was charged under the same section of the criminal code after being accused of leaking state secrets.

His trial is ongoing and it is also being kept out of the public eye.

What a pickle
A few days ago, Frederiksen asked Thomsen via a public Facebook post if it wasn’t time to “take the matter out of the pickle”, meaning that it has dragged on for too long. Frederiksen was charged three days after he sent this apparent challenge to the minister.

In the same post, Frederiksen protested his own innocence and mentioned the “inappropriate” treatment of Findsen.

The jam may be out of the jar, but it’s a pickle that doesn’t seem like it’s going away just for Claus Hjort Frederiksen.

Source: The Nordic Page

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