Justice minister admits that rendition plane was sent for Snowden

Søren Pind said the plane was in Copenhagen in case the whistleblower was extradited

Snowden's trip back to the US had been arranged (photo: Elena Polio) Snowden's trip back to the US had been arranged (photo: Elena Polio)
February 5th, 2016 2:26 pm| by Christian W

The justice minister, Søren Pind, has admitted for the first time that Copenhagen Airport received a visit from an American rendition plane that was sent to extradite the whistleblower Edward Snowden from Russia and take him back to the US.

Pind told Parliament yesterday that the Transport Ministry had permitted an American government plane to land at Copenhagen Airport and fly in Danish airspace, although he said he didn’t know the reason for the flight.

That tune changed today.

Normally classified
“I must admit that my answer [yesterday] didn’t cover this point,” Pind said today in a note to Parliament.

“I have subsequently been made aware that the background material revealed that the purpose of the plane’s presence in Copenhagen Airport was apparently to have the option of transporting Edward Snowden to the USA if he had been delivered by Russia or some other nation.”

Pind underlined that information of this character is usually considered classified due to Denmark’s relationship with other countries, but he found it appropriate to inform Parliament about this issue.

The US authorities have also been informed, Pind said.

See the note to Parliament here (in Danish).

READ MORE: Documents confirm rendition flight used Copenhagen Airport for mission to capture Edward Snowden

“USA state flight”
The issue kicked off last year when the online media source Denfri.dk applied for access to documents concerning the flight, but access to many of the documents was denied and much of the information was heavily redacted.

The documents do, however, confirm that a Gulfstream aircraft used Danish airspace and landed at Kastrup.

An overflying and landing permission for a “USA state flight” is included, as is email correspondence around the time of the landing between senior staff at the police and the Justice Ministry concerning the landing.