Public broadcaster DR recently got access to secret documents revealing that Denmark between 1998 and 2000 was part of the innermost circle of an international surveillance collaboration, referred to as 'the good company' by the government.
The disclosed papers show that the government was well aware of the surveillance system and describe Denmark as one of the countries that worked closely with the US on surveillance in the late 1990s.
It’s also revealed that Denmark was under "significant pressure" from the US to change its laws and allow tapping of communication, and that Denmark had to give into pressure in order to stay within ‘the good company’.
Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, the former head of domestic intelligence agency PET, said the ties with the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US go back many years.
"These papers stabilise the picture of the collaboration that exists and has existed for many years," he told DR.
During the period in question, the national defence intelligence service Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste allegedly received "technical assistance" to decrypt codes on tapped communication. It also had surveillance techniques to tap the internet and "identify illegal downloads on the internet".
Same as 9-eyes
'The good company' has also been known as the ‘Echelon network’ and, more recently, '9-eyes' following the disclosures of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Earlier this year, Information revealed that Denmark gave the NSA access to tapped data.
The defence minister, Nicolai Wammen, said he wasn’t familiar with the specific definition of ‘the good company’.
Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste refused to comment on the leaked information.