According to Danish public broadcasters (DR) and a European media investigation published on Sunday revealed that Denmark’s secret agency assisted the US National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German foreign ministers. Similarly, allegations emerged when Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 that the NSA tapped Merkel’s phone and spied on other countries.
According to the report, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) undertook an internal probe into its relationship with the US National Security Agency (NSA) in 2015, code-named “Operation Dunhammer.” the investigation also discovered that the NSA utilized Danish information cables to spy on key officials in Sweden, Norway, France, and Germany between 2012 and 2014.
The investigation discovered that the NSA had access to broad data streams that ran over internet cables to and from Denmark, intercepting everything from text messages and phone conversations to internet traffic such as searches, chats, and messaging services.
Trine Bramsen, the Danish Minister of Defence who took over the job in June 2019, was informed of the surveillance in August last year. She also suspended the chief of the Defense Intelligence Service and three other officers in the same month.
She stated in DR that “chronic eavesdropping of close allies is unacceptable.” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Angela Merkel’s spokesperson both stated that they were unaware of Danish involvement until the DR article was shared with other European media over the weekend. Along with Mrs. Merkel, former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and opposition leader Peer Steinbrück are alleged to have been targeted. “From a political standpoint, I see this as a scandal,” Mr. Steinbrück told German media.
According to Thomas Wegener Friis, a Danish expert in secret service operations, the Danish Defense Intelligence Service was forced to choose which global partners to collaborate with more closely.
The US then charged him with theft of government property, unlawful communication of national defense information, and deliberate communication of confidential communications intelligence, and then Mr. Snowden sought asylum in Russia.
The Defence Intelligence Service and the US National Security Agency have not yet responded to the latest reports.