Claus Hjort Frederiksen. Photo: Steen Brogaard.

Prominent Cases Against Former Minister and Intelligence Chief Abandoned Over Security Concerns

Read Time:2 Minute, 24 Second

The criminal cases against former minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen, the former chief of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service, Lars Findsen, and a former employee of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) have been dropped.

The three of them were accused of disclosing confidential information.

However, after the recent ruling by the Supreme Court regarding the handling of the case files, the Danish Defense Intelligence Service no longer considers it safe to provide highly classified information, which the cases are related to, for use in criminal proceedings.

“The classified information is crucial for these cases. Without the ability to present them in court, the prosecution has no means to meet the burden of proof. Therefore, the prosecution has recommended to the Minister of Justice that the cases not proceed. The minister has concurred, and thus, the cases are concluded. The same applies to the case against a 63-year-old former PET employee, where I have decided to halt the case,” says Chief Prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen.

Throughout the process, Lars Findsen, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, and the PET employee have had access to the indictment, court records, and all the documents related to the case through their defense attorneys. However, to ensure the confidentiality of the classified information, both the PET and the prosecution required that all parties involved handle case information under special secure conditions.

In broad terms, the Supreme Court’s rulings mean that the accused will have the right to access court records and the indictment, including classified information. Together with the decision that defense attorneys are not required to handle all case information under special secure conditions, this has led the intelligence services to consider the framework not secure enough. Additionally, the Supreme Court’s decision that the cases should be partially conducted in open court further complicates matters.

“For the intelligence services, it is crucial that the confidentiality of their information remains intact and is handled with the utmost security. This is a prerequisite for them to carry out their work of protecting Denmark and Danish interests. The Supreme Court has determined that Lars Findsen can take classified information home without requirements on how they should be stored or who has access to them. This will significantly increase the risk of uncontrolled dissemination of information. Therefore, the Danish Defense Intelligence Service has informed the prosecution that classified information cannot be presented as evidence in a criminal case. A partially open trial pushes further in that direction, and the framework is far from the usual standards for handling classified information,” says Jakob Berger Nielsen.

The prosecution believes that with the Supreme Court’s rulings, it will be exceptionally challenging to prosecute individuals for breaches of confidentiality if the classified information in question has a sufficiently serious nature and cannot be presented in court, effectively making it non-punishable to breach confidentiality in cases of this nature.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *