US Spied on Scandinavian Countries, Defense Industries: Report
Story Code : 898111
Among other things, the report warned the FE's leadership about possible illegalities in intelligence collaboration to drain Danish internet cables of information. The report also uncovered espionage attempts against Denmark's Finance and Foreign ministries, as well as the country's closest neighbors and allies, Norway and Sweden.
The NSA gained access to fiber optic cables and a data center on the island of Amager south of Copenhagen. From there, Dutch, Norwegian, French, and German data traffic, and Danish political institutions were monitored.
A source also mentioned that the NSA wanted to "nose out [Aarhus-based defense company] Terma prior to Denmark's purchase of new fighter jets", when Denmark decided on the multibillion purchase of new fighter jets to replace its ageing fleet of F-16s. In the fighter jet tender, Swedish defense company Saab was one of the contenders. After a heated debate with many controversies, the Danish government eventually settled on 27 US F-35 fighter jets.
After several failed attempts to draw the management's attention to the problem, the whistleblower alerted FE's supervisory authority, TET. According to TET, the FE's management "failed to follow up or further investigate indications of espionage".
Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen later sacked five people in the FE leadership.
Giving the NSA access to information cables or otherwise making it possible to spy on key Danish institutions and the defense industry is clearly contrary to the country's interests, experts underscored.