Danish Intelligence Chief in Custody Over Suspected Information Leaks

Denmark’s chief of foreign intelligence, Lars Findsen, has been remanded for his involvement in a “highly classified” information leak, reported public broadcaster DR on Monday. Despite two current and two former foreign intelligence employees being detained back in December, Findsen is the only one who remains in custody. A publication ban on the case was just lifted this Monday, allowing for local media to report on the investigation.

“I want the charges brought forward and I plead not guilty. This is completely insane,” Findsen said to reporters at Monday’s hearing. The exact charges of the arrest are unsure as the case is being dealt with behind closed doors. However, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service released a statement to Reuters sharing that the four officials have violated a portion of the penal code for “having imparted highly classified information.” They further stated that the dissemination of this information would perpetuate “serious or extremely serious damage” to the European Union and NATO.

According to Reuters, there are unconfirmed reports that the information leaked from the Danish Defense Intelligence Service to the U.S. National Security Agency consisted of the personal data of Danish citizens. If this is this case, this incident becomes yet another international security issue relating to cyber-warfare and cyber-crimes. Governments like the U.S. may be doing this to seek out harmful individuals and possible terrorists. There are few to no laws protecting people and their personal information – where does the line get drawn between what a government can and cannot access?

Before the initial arrests made back in December, Findsen and four additional intelligence officials were suspended in August. An independent board had accused the group of serious wrongdoings. Yet last month, an investigation committee rebuffed the charges and lifted the ban on the officials. It is not known whether this case and the arrest are linked. If Findsen is convicted, however, the maximum penalty for the accused crime is 12 years in prison.

Without confirmation of the nature of the leaked information, it is difficult to argue about the implications of this incident. If current reports are correct, this event could greatly strain relations between the U.S. and other European nations. Additionally, it could also lead the U.S. and Danish governments to answer for the data leaks and explain their involvement in these data operations.