• Denmark's news in English

Surveillance cooperation with US goes back years

The Local · 30 Jun 2014, 12:28

Published: 30 Jun 2014 12:28 GMT+02:00

Denmark’s cooperation with the US intelligence agency NSA goes back to the 1990s, newly-obtained documents have revealed. 
Through a freedom of information request, Danmarks Radio obtained internal government documents dating from 1998-2000 that showed the Americans put “significant pressure” on Denmark to change its laws to allow the surveillance of communication lest it fall out of an inner circle of information-sharing countries. 
The new documents corroborate information provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that revealed that the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste) collaborated with the American NSA to tap undersea internet cables. They also reveal that the partnership goes back further than previously known. 
“The papers confirm the picture of the cooperation existing and having existed for many years,” Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, a former director of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (Politiets Efterretningstjeneste), told DR.
The documents also reveal that FE received technical assistance from the US in breaking encryption and monitoring communications and that Denmark was threatened with being excluded from the US’s inner circle of allies if it didn’t change its encryption laws. 
“The USA’s chief negotiator within the encryption area contacted the Danish defence ministry and stated that the Danish position needed to be changed in a more restrictive direction that puts a greater focus on security concerns by giving better possibilities for monitoring encrypted communications,” part of a document obtained from the defence ministry read. “Without accommodating [the Americans’ request], Denmark should not expect to remain ‘in good company’. That could result in a loss of specific benefits to Denmark in other security areas.”
Denmark caved in to the Americans’ request. 
Story continues below…
“It was no secret that we were in a category that meant we shared information on a higher level than countries that the US trusted less,” Jørgen Rosted, a former business ministry official, told DR. “What they threatened us with was that we would go down to a lower level where there was less sensitive information.”
Snowden documents released by the Guardian last year revealed that Denmark is one of the NSA’s ‘Nine Eyes’, an inner circle of countries that collaborate closely with the US intelligence agency. 
The Nine Eyes group includes Denmark, Norway, France and the Netherlands in addition to the original ‘Five Eyes’ countries of the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Øresund Bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmö. Photo: Colourbox

Dozens of attempts to cross the Øresund Bridge have been made, but this is the first successful crossing.

Seagulls 1, Aarhus 0
Aarhus's Hitchcockian nightmare will continue. Photo: Stefan W/Flickr

Officials in Denmark’s second city declared an all-out war on seagulls earlier this year. They lost.

Russia lashes out at ‘hostile’ Denmark
Russia's ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin. Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Kingdom of Denmark

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark accused the Danes of being “hostile” and “anti-Russian” in an interview published on Friday.

Danish MP cleared for 'bomb civilians' remark
Søren Espersen of the Danish People's Party. File photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix

Copenhagen Police have dropped proceedings against Danish People’s Party (DF) spokesperson Søren Espersen after he said that Denmark “should start” bombing civilians in Syria.

Denmark's biggest IPO to be windfall for Goldman Sachs
Dong's expected market value is up to 106.5 billion kroner. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix

The Danish wind farm group Dong Energy is valued at up to $16 billion, leading to renewed debate about its partial sale to the US investment bank.

Aarhus blocks plans for grand mosque
Aarhus will not get a new mosque after all. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

The sale of a plot of land for the construction of a grand mosque has been cancelled by Aarhus Municipality.

Denmark's waters are cleaner than ever
Danish beaches are cleaner than ever. Photo: Old Dane/ Wikipedia

Jump on in, the water's fine! In fact, it's cleaner than it's ever been.

Syrian refugees sue Denmark over long family wait time
File photo of the refugee tent camp in Thisted. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix

A group of five Syrians are suing Denmark and Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg over the three-year waiting period for family reunification imposed on refugees.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holder Mehvish Kiran said that her four children would not be able to adjust to life in Pakistan. Photo: Submitted

Thousands of green card holders are desperately trying convince politicians not to force them out of Denmark and say that a recently-granted extension to the scheme is a hollow victory.

Danish economy set for ‘historically’ low growth
File photo: Scanpix DK

Reports from the Ministry of Finance and independent experts suggest that the Danish economy is likely to be one of Europe’s slowest growers over the coming years.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
Denmark nears final decision on controversial fighter jets
Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters
Could Danes face a 'red meat tax' to help climate?
Denmark unable to process or issue visas
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Business & Money
How Denmark’s national bank card is about to change
The best Danish bands you've (maybe) never heard of
Danes leaving the church in droves
Atheist campaign gets Danes to leave the church in droves
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Business & Money
Unwrapping Denmark's first zero-packaging food store
jobs available