Prosecutors in Demark last week dismissed two separate cases against the former head of the Danish foreign intelligence service and its former defense minister who were both charged with leaking secrets since prosecutors were unable to divulge classified information in court, the Associated Press reported.
In late October, the highest court in Denmark ruled that both trials should be made public with only sessions involving sensitive information being closed.
In a statement last Wednesday, the Danish prosecution authority said it was not in the interest of state security “to make highly classified information available in criminal proceedings.”
Prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen said holding the trials would have required disclosing confidential information.
Former defense minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen had publicly alleged in interviews that Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Service had assisted the US National Security Agency (NSA) in eavesdropping on the leaders of France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden. As a result, in February, Frederiksen was charged with divulging state secrets.
Lars Findsen, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Service, was charged in December 2021 with leaking “highly classified information” to six individuals, including two reporters. Findsen led the country’s overseas intelligence service from 2015 until he was suspended in 2020 after a watchdog group criticized the agency for withholding information and violating Danish laws.
Prosecutor Berger Nielsen said the classified information would have been “absolutely central” to both cases, adding that without them, the prosecution would have “no opportunity to lift the burden of proof.”
Finn Borch Andersen, the head of Denmark’s domestic security service, called for new legislation to ensure that such dismissals do not happen in the future. He said it was a “serious situation” that the country is unable to prosecute cases involving classified information.
Meanwhile, Claus Hjort Frederiksen told Danish media that he was gratified that his case had been dismissed.