Spy agency chief charged over top-secret leaks
Prosecutors in Denmark have formally charged the country’s former foreign intelligence chief, Lars Findsen, with leaking highly classified state secrets to six people, including two journalists.
Findsen, who was suspended from his job as head of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE) in August 2020, faces a six-count indictment in Viborg, according to a statement by Denmark’s Police Intelligence Service (PET). Prosecutors are pursuing the case at a magistrate level, suggesting that Findsen would be sentenced to less than four years in prison if he’s convicted, and they will seek to keep any trial behind closed doors.
The leaks occurred over a period of 16 or 17 months, the PET said. Before being suspended, Findsen had headed the FE since 2015 and previously oversaw domestic intelligence as director of PET from 2002 to 2007. He was among four people arrested last December in connection with a “long and extensive” investigation by PET and East Jutland Police.
“It is of course serious when secrets or other confidential information that is essential for the intelligence services’ work to protect Denmark's security is passed on to unauthorized persons,” said Jacob Berger Nielsen, state attorney in Viborg. “It carries a risk of further spread to a wider public. It can damage the relationship with the intelligence services’ partners, and it can make it more difficult for them to carry out their work if their working methods are revealed.”
Danish officials have been tight-lipped about the type of information that Findsen allegedly leaked, other than to say it was highly classified. The six alleged recipients of the information weren’t identified.
Findsen was previously caught up in a scandal over accusations that the FE was unjustifiably spying on Danish citizens and withholding information to prevent proper oversight of the intelligence agency.