Treason: Former Danish Defence Minister Charged with Leaking State Secrets

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (L) and Denmark Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen greet each other as they arrive for a working dinner at The Parc du Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark Park in Brussels on July 11, 2018, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit. (Photo by BENOIT DOPPAGNE / …

Former Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen has been charged with leaking state secrets just days after it was revealed the head of the country’s intelligence agency had been arrested.

Frederiksen confirmed the charges against him on Friday in a statement released by the Danish Liberal Party stating, “I can confirm that I have been charged under the Criminal Code article 109 for violating the limits of my freedom of speech. I have expressed myself as a member of parliament on a political matter and I have nothing further to add at this stage.”

The former defence minister went on to add that he would “never dream of doing anything that could harm Denmark or Denmark’s interests,” Danish broadcaster DR reports.

The broadcaster stated that Fredericksen had been appointed a lawyer earlier in the week and could face up to 12 years in prison for disclosure of state secrets, which falls under Denmark’s treason legislation, known as the “traitor clause.”

The exact details of the charges are not known but there is speculation that they may be related to a 2020 interview given by Fredericksen in which he seemed to confirm the existence of a secret spying programme in which Danish authorities work with the United States.

The existence of the spying programme was reported on last year by DR and other Danish media who stated that the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) in coordination with the U.S. National Security Administration (NSA), had spied on Danish citizens and European leaders, including former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The announcement from Frederiksen comes just days after it was revealed that the head of the FE, Lars Findsen, had been arrested and had been in police custody for around a month over allegations he had been leaking sensitive data along with other current and former FE employees.

Findsen, who allowed his name to be published in connection with the case, released a statement saying, “I want the charges brought forward and I plead not guilty. This is completely insane.”

The case against Findsen is also speculated to be connected to the FE and NSA spying allegations.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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