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1999 09 27 * Ekstra Bladet * The Minister of the Defense admits * Bo Elkjaer, Kenan Seeberg

"Denmark participates in a global surveillance system", admitted the Minister for the Defense Hans Hækkerup under heavy pressure

  

As one of the first governments in the clandestine Western intelligence cooperation, Hækkerup acknowledged during a joint council in the Danish Parliament's Europe Committee last Friday that the FE (Intelligence Agency of the Danish Armed Forces) participates in the interception of electronic communication.

 

 Does this occur in cooperation with the NSA, which manages the so-called Echelon?
"I can't confirm that, but I can tell you that the FE has been intercepting signals ever since the Second World War - and we're still doing it."

Can you confirm that this takes place at Aflandshage on the island of Amager?
"Yes, it does, and the facilities out there have been continuously expanded over the years. We both collect and process information from satellites. "

Is this cooperation in compliance with the law?
"Yes, it is."

The Minister for Defense was summoned to a joint council by parliament member Keld Albrechtsen who was quite astonished by the Minister's admissions. Up to now, the ministries of Defense, Justice and Research have actually denied any knowledge of the controversial global surveillance systems.

The Minister stated that such satellite systems exist and that Denmark is included in them, but that this system is not called Echelon. He also stated that we have the capacity to collect and exchange information with the intelligence agencies of other countries.

Do you have any guarantee that Danish citizens are not being illegally monitored and registered?

"No, unfortunately", says MP Keld Albrechtsen. The minister evaded the question of whether the law is obeyed in regards to the cooperation with the secret services of other countries. So this system provides no guarantee for the security of life and property for the ordinary citizen. He also to refused to go into detail on the question of whether the operations occur in cooperation with other countries. Another parliament member of the Europe Committee, Knud Erik Hansen, asked at the meeting if the facilities also spied on the commercial satellites, i.e. the ones that transmit signals like telephone conversations.

He unfortunately evaded that question, too, but now the Minister for Justice must be brought to order so he can assure us that both private and commercial communication is not being monitored illegally.