FE chief Lars Findsen has been secretly in custody for over a month

Saithan

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January 10, 2022​

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Former FE chief Lars Findsen has been in custody in secret since 9 December. Stock Photo: Jens Dresling / Scanpix

A judge at the Copenhagen City Court has lifted the name ban, which has so far been imposed in the case of leaks from FE. It was the former FE head Lars Findsen who himself wanted the name ban lifted. He has been in custody since Dec. 9.​

It was not a random private employee, but the boss himself. On Monday, a judge at the Copenhagen City Court lifted the name ban in the case of leakage from FE, and the press can thus openly say that the remand prisoner is former FE chief Lars Findsen. He was arrested along with three other employees of FE and PET on the morning of December 8, where PET also conducted searches at a number of different addresses.

The next day, three of those arrested were produced in a constitutional hearing behind double-closed doors, and two of them were remanded in custody for 11 days.

'The detainees are current and former employees of the two intelligence services. They are charged with i.a. violation of the Penal Code § 109, para. 1, by unjustifiably passing on highly classified information from the intelligence services, «PET wrote in a press release on 9 December.

On Friday 17 December, the remand prisoner was released with a maintenance of his charge, while Lars Findsen on Monday 20 December agreed to a voluntary extension of his remand in custody until today. In the city court, Lars Findsen asked through his lawyer this morning to have the name ban lifted, which the prosecution had nothing to object to.

The supervision of the Intelligence Services started the case​

The case began when the Danish Intelligence Service issued a press release in August 2020 with a deeply serious criticism of FE for, among other things, to have broken the law and spied on Danish citizens. The extremely sensational press release prompted Minister of Defense Trine Bramsen (S) to send home five senior employees, including Lars Findsen.

In the ensuing days, new sensational stories began to appear in the media. They were about a several years old and deep secret collaboration with FE and the American intelligence service about tapping data cables under Copenhagen. The story first became publicly known in Information in 2014 on the basis of information leaked by US intelligence agent Edward Snowden.
But the stories in Weekendavisen, Berlingske and DR revealed new and revealing details, which testified that the media had access to sources with extremely deep insight into the intelligence service's cooperation with foreign states.

During the year, other stories also appeared in the media based on the intelligence services. Thus, Berlingske was able to tell the sensational story of the Danish citizen Ahmed Samsam, who in Spain had been convicted of terrorism as an IS war, but in reality worked in Syria as a seconded agent for PET.

On Friday, four journalists from Ekstra-Bladet received the Cavling Prize for their coverage of the case of the Iraqi mothers in camps in Syria. The stories led to the government, contrary to all promises, chose to bring more of the mothers and their children home. The stories were clearly based on sources with information about the intelligence services' analyzes of the case, which showed that women and children posed a far greater security risk for Denmark in Syria than if they were brought to Denmark.

It is not yet known whether the day of constitutional interrogation will lead to a further custody of Lars Findsen, or whether he will be released. The article is updated…

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FE = Miitary Intelligence
 

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Experts shuddered at the arrest of spy chief: “It's world history. It has never happened before "​

The historical accusation of former FE chief Lars Findsen could have unforeseeable consequences for the Danish intelligence services, two experts fear.

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The case against former FE head Lars Findsen is unprecedented, experts say.
Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen / Ritzau Scanpix (archive)


Monday, January 10, 2022, at 12.32



World history. Without precedent. Reminiscent of the Cold War.

Experts' reactions to the news that former chief of the Defense Intelligence Service (FE) Lars Johan Findsen is accused of having leaked "highly classified information" to the press are violent.

"It's world history. It has never happened before. It is catastrophic for the Danish intelligence services and sends the signal that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark , «is the reaction from Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, who is former chief of operations in the Police Intelligence Service (PET) and has previously worked with Lars Findsen .

Peer Henrik Hansen, Ph.D. in the Cold War and intelligence service and daily manager of Langelandsfortet, calls the situation 'unique'.

“I can not just come up with a precedent where we have tried something similar. At least not in Denmark or abroad. It is very Cold War-like that you have a spy chief who has been remanded in custody for passing on classified knowledge, "he says.

Dismissed by Commission​

Lars Johan Findsen is charged under section 109 of the harshest part of the Penal Code, Chapter 12 on crimes against the state, which can result in up to 12 years in prison.

Already in December, he was remanded in custody in a constitutional hearing, where the court also ruled on a name ban. But at a court hearing on Monday morning , the name ban has been lifted following a request from Findsen's lawyer.

The details have not been announced, but the accusation comes after a long and completely unusual course, where Findsen - together with other then and former employees of FE - in the late summer of 2020 was sent home by Defense Minister Trine Bramsen (S) after harsh criticism of the service from Supervision of the Intelligence Services.

A criticism that, according to Berlingske's and other media's information, was about a deep secret collaboration with the American service, National Security Agency (NSA), about tapping data from submarine cables.

A commission of inquiry later acquitted the intelligence service on virtually all counts, but in the meantime Findsen and three other colleagues had been remanded in custody for leaking confidential information.

Both experts now fear the consequences for the country's security.

A losing cause for everyone​

"Foreign partners must sit and think: 'What is going on in Denmark?' My fear is that the rest of the world will be extremely careful about sharing sensitive information with our intelligence services in the future for fear that it will be leaked, "says Bonnichsen and continues:

"If I were in a foreign intelligence service, I would be reluctant if I heard that a Danish intelligence chief had been imprisoned for nationally damaging activities. It's a losing cause for everyone. "

Peer Henrik Hansen estimates that Denmark "will be in an intelligence dead end for many years, where there will be many things we are not told".

"It simply came to our notice then. Whether it is in the intelligence service, in the civil service, or whether it is the politicians, I can not say with certainty, but we are in a deroute that it will take decades to rectify, "he says.

Fear of overreaction​

The arrest of Lars Johan Findsen is unprecedented. Jakob Scharf, former head of the Police Intelligence Service, was admittedly charged with talking about himself in a book about his time in the service, but he was charged under a markedly milder section of the Penal Code. Incidentally , in 2020 he ended up being acquitted of most matters.

Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen emphasizes that he knows Lars Findsen personally.

“I am deeply touched by the case. I have worked closely with Lars Findsen for several years and know him as an intelligent, dazzlingly skilled lawyer with great political insight who has been passionate about Denmark's security. I have a very hard time seeing a motive at all for such a profile to undertake a company that is harmful to the country. "

"I can not help but fear that the system is shooting sparrows with cannons, as they have done in the past - for example with the case against Jakob Scharf. It is marked by deep desperation that one is advancing so violently, I think. But I reserve the right to be wiser. "

 

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Imprisoned spy chief has had burglary in his private home​

While the Chief of Defense Intelligence, Lars Findsen, has been in custody, there have been burglaries in his private villa.

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The head of the Defense Intelligence Service, Lars Findsen, has had a burglary in his private villa while he has been imprisoned.
Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen

Wednesday, January 12, 2022, at 14.23




While Lars Findsen, head of the Defense Intelligence Service (FE), has been behind bars, there have been burglaries in his private home. It writes Ekstra Bladet .

According to Ekstra Bladet, the burglary in Lars Findsen's villa was reported on 19 December. It is only eleven days after Lars Findsen was arrested at Copenhagen Airport, charged with leaking confidential information.

An overview of burglaries in the North Zealand Police District shows that a burglary was reported on 22 December at 10 pm on the road where Lars Findsen has an address.

"Possibly entrance via an unlocked door in the basement," writes North Zealand Police in the summary from the burglary.

It is not yet known whether the burglary is related to the current leak case.

Historical case​

The imprisonment of Lars Findsen is unprecedented in Denmark.
He has known the deepest state secrets for decades, and he is the first ever to have been head of both the Police Intelligence Service (PET) and the Defense Intelligence Service (FE).

On Monday, it emerged that Lars Findsen is in prison after the Copenhagen City Court lifted the name ban.

It is not known what exactly Lars Findsen is suspected of having done, but he is accused of passing on "highly classified information from the intelligence services" to the press.

He is charged under section 109, which is one of the most serious parts of the penal code. The section punishes with up to 12 years' imprisonment "anyone who discloses or discloses the State's secret negotiations, deliberations or decisions in cases on which the State's security or rights vis-à-vis foreign states depend."

 
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