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1999 12 07 * Ekstra Bladet * The danish link to the global surveillance network * Bo Elkjaer, Kenan Seeberg

Disclosure: Ekstra Bladet maps out the network, that connects the danish and european intelligence agencies with Echelon's espionage network.


Since 1997, Denmark has intensified its participation in the global surveillance network known under the code name of Echelon. The Danish reinforcements occurred in connection with the reorganization of the NATO headquarters, BALTAP, in Karup, Denmark.


Today, Ekstra Bladet exposes the direct connection between the two Danish intelligence agencies - the PET and the FE - with the American intelligence agencies that constitute the primary core of the Echelon collaboration.

Minister of Defense Hans Hækkerup and Minister of Justice Frank Jensen have denied any knowledge of the Echelon system on several occasions. Most recently, in an article published in Dansk Forsvar [Danish Defense], Minister of Defense Hans Hækkerup directly denied that Denmark participates in Echelon.

"Let me get right to the point: Denmark's armed forces, including the Intelligence Agency of the Danish Armed Forces (FE), do not participate in a world-wide surveillance network known as Echelon," he writes. Ekstra Bladet can now conclude either that the minister is being kept in the dark or else the intelligence system has changed the code name for Echelon. The third possibility is that Hækkerup's denial is simply and positively incorrect, to put it nicely.

The key to the disclosure of Denmark's participation in the Echelon system is located in Karup, Denmark in the Jutland peninsula where the NATO headquarters named BALTAP - short for Baltic Approach - are located.

NATO's unitary command - a Danish-German joint command with affiliated officers from Great Britain and the US - is stationed at the base. In 1997, the ministers of defense for the 16 NATO countries reached an agreement on reorganizing the entire structure for NATO's headquarters.

In the same breath, the Americans were - secretly - given the authority to spy on Danish soil - against the Danish population. This occurred when the US 650th Military Intelligence Group was given the authority to perform what is known as counterintelligence affiliated with the NATO headquarters.



Not surprisingly, it has been impossible to wrench even a partial confirmation out of either the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Justice.

Nevertheless, Ekstra Bladet has unearthed a US mission statement for intelligence agencies. It states that "the 650th Military Intelligence Group is part of Europe's allied command, ACE, under NATO, and that the group is "dedicated to acquiring support for the counterintelligence services for the Supreme Allied Headquarters Europe (SHAPE), its subsidiary commands and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)."

Furthermore, the mission statement reveals that the 650th MI Group shall carry out counterintelligence activities for American units in Europe as well as for, among others, BALTAP in Denmark.

The mission statement of the 650th Military Intelligence Group states that it is the Group's task to coordinate the intelligence cooperation between the intelligence agencies of the various NATO countries - including Denmark's PET and FE - with the American intelligence agencies. This entire intelligence collaboration is coordinated under the auspices of NATO.



Minister of Defense Hans Hækkerup admitted at a joint council in September that the Danish military intelligence agencies "cooperated with foreign intelligence agencies" on surveillance.

The task of the 650th MI Group is to monitor the threat situation surrounding the NATO headquarters in Karup. One of the methods used by the group to protect the Karup headquarters is known in spy jargon as "Offensive Counterintelligence Operations - OFCO. For the time being, the purpose of these offensive counterintelligence operations remains unknown. They are classified as top secret.

One thing is for sure however: The Group's assignment is to coordinate the intelligence collaboration in the NATO region. By virtue of this role, the Group is a very tangible link between the two Danish intelligence agencies and the extensive Echelon apparatus which manifests itself in several European locations.