Intelligence officials deny NSA spying against Denmark
Intelligence agency FE rejects allegations that NSA spied on Denmark during COP15, but won't rule out the option that other nations were bugged
The US intelligence agency NSA did not spy on Danish diplomats and politicians during the 2009 COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen, according to the Danish external intelligence agency Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE).
A NSA document revealing the agency obtained information from key countries ahead of the conference was leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in Information newspaper last week.
The disclosure also revealed that the agency obtained a secret discussion paper from a Danish official, but the government has continually shot down NSA spying allegations against Denmark.
The head of FE, Thomas Ahrenkiel, said that the Danish government has no reason to suspect illegal prying against national interests.
"Information's articles make it sound like the government keeps singing the same refrain. That is not true," Ahrenkiel told Politiken newspaper. "We follow media stories closely and keep evaluating if there's any hold in the claims based on close dialogue with the intelligence agencies of other nations."
"It's based on these conversations that the government and the intelligence agencies stand by our statements," Ahrenkiel continued. "There is no reason to suspect illegal American intelligence activities against Denmark."
"Danish interests" open to interpretation
Since the FE's definition of espionage against Danish interests only refers to direct surveillance of Danish citizens and officials, it leaves open the possibility that the NSA's spying on other nations may also affect national interests.
"It's true that the definition of 'Danish interests' is open to interpretation," he told Politiken. "I look at it from my own perspective and we keep our attention on illegal American intelligence activities against Denmark and Danish interests, defined as we define them. It is in this regard that we can hold on to our previous statements."
Since former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald released the NSA data leaked by Snowden, Denmark's participation with the NSA has been slowly revealed in bits and pieces.
In December, Snowden leaked documents that confirmed Denmark's status as one of the US's trusted partners and one of the NSA's so-called '9 Eyes'.
Greenwald has previously said that more revelations about Denmark would come to light, and he characterised the Danish relationship to the Americans as "submissive".