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5 Feb, 2016 13:55

Denmark officially confirms US plane was in Copenhagen in June 2013 to fly Snowden to America

Denmark officially confirms US plane was in Copenhagen in June 2013 to fly Snowden to America

Denmark has publicly acknowledged for the first time that in June 2013 a US plane was waiting in a Copenhagen airport to extradite NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the US. At the time he was stranded in a Moscow airport.

The allegations of Denmark’s complicity in the plan resurfaced last week after the news that website Denfri had published documents disclosed under a freedom of information request pointing to such a connection.

Danish officials initially denied the report, but on Friday Justice Minister Søren Pind confirmed it to parliament.

“The purpose of the plane’s presence at Copenhagen Airport was apparently to have the ability to transport Edward Snowden to the USA in case he was delivered from Russia or another country,” the minister said in a written statement.

On Friday, Pind retracted statements he had made earlier in the week on Wednesday, when he had claimed he was not aware of the purpose of the plane’s presence in Denmark.

After the Denfri revelations, Snowden suggested that Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen had rejected calls from left wing MPs to provide him political asylum because of the PM’s involvement with the US rendition plan.

“He is sought for a series of legal violations; that's what he is. And the US is a democratic constitutional state,” Rasmussen argued as he dismissed the calls in November.

Snowden, a former NSA employee, handed over to a select number of journalists a trove of classified US documents detailing the scale of electronic surveillance conducted by the CIA and its foreign allies worldwide. The apparent violation of privacy on an industrial scale provoked widespread criticism of the US and strained its relations with key allies.

The whistleblower was stranded at a Moscow airport as his travel plans were disrupted by Washington revoking his passport. Russia eventually granted him political asylum.

While some people have branded Snowden a traitor, for many he remains a champion of human rights.