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1999 09 17 * Ekstra Bladet * * Bo Elkjaer, Kenan Seeberg

The Intelligence Agency of the Danish Armed Forces (FE) is expanding: Ekstra Bladet can now prove that the FE is expanding its secret espionage facilities in Denmark

  

Take a good look at this picture. Note the large crane. It is in the process of installing almost ten million DKK (1.4 mill. USD) worth of secret surveillance equipment for the FE.


constructing_the_tools
Constructing the tools of the secret trade: Here the danish military intelligence is expanding its eavesdropping capabilities.

The disclosure of the fact that the FE is expanding its secret surveillance facilities is poorly timed for Minister for Defence Hans Hækkerup. Today he has an appointment with the Danish Parliament's Europe Committee to give a full accounting of Denmark's participation in the global surveillance ring known by the code name of Echelon.

The expansion work revealed today by Ekstra Bladet is taking place in Skibsbylejren near Hjørring, Denmark at one of the FE's three large listening posts. The addition of the new installations considerably enlarges the FE's capacity.

According to British technology expert Duncan Campbell, the intelligence agency's facilities near Hjørring are part of the global surveillance system known as Echelon.

 

THE OLD PARABOLIC ANTENNAS WERE TOO SMALL

With camera in hand, Ekstra Bladet paid a discrete visit to Echelon at Skibsbylejren near Hjørring. As seen in the photos on this page, the large cranes are in the process of expanding the military installation. This fits in well with another piece of information of which the public is also totally ignorant.

Last year, the Ministry for Defence granted 9.5 million DKK (1.25 mill. USD) for Skibsbylejren. According to the appropriation from the Building Services of the Defence Department, the grant is earmarked for 'erecting antennas'. The purpose of the antennas - ten years after the end of the Cold War - is still all in the air for the time being. Ekstra Bladet naturally contacted Skibsbylejren to get an explanation:

What is going on here?
"They are in the process of replacing the old facilities with new equipment. New parabolic antennas are being set up. The old ones were ten metres in diameter and that's not enough. The new ones will be 18 metres in diameter," explains major Bjarke Steen Larsen from the Danish Army's Maintenance Services which administers the base area and equipment.

"They will be used for tasks like communicating with our units in Kosovo and our observers in the Middle East."

Since the appropriation for the new installations and the 'antennas' was granted in 1998 - more than one year before the armed forces moved into Kosovo in the spring of 1999 - the installations must have another purpose. What else will they be used for?
"I have to pass on that question. I don't really know anything about the operational aspects."

Is the FE in charge of the operation?
"I really don't know, You got me there," says major Bjarke Steen Larsen to Ekstra Bladet.