Was PET following cabinet hopeful?
Henrik Sass Larsen, once a shoe-in to serve as Finance Minister in the new centre-left government, is urging the domestic security agency PET to come out with the information that went into a damning security review that put him out in the political cold.
LarsenÂ’s call for PET to release the classified information came after allegations that PET followed and wire-tapped him, a leading member ofSocialdemokraterne, over a period of two months in the summer of 2011.
TV2 reported on Thursday that PET had followed Larsen in order to determine the extent of his connections to a biker gang in the town of KÃ¸ge. The station said the story was confirmed by independent sources, but when the PET chief, Jacob Scharf, said on Friday that PET had never undertaken an investigation Â“directed atÂ” Larsen, the station quickly retracted its story.
Â“Our information is based on several independent sources, but when PET and Jacob Scharf have come out saying itÂ’s not true, then we have to say we canÂ’t prove otherwise with the sources we have,Â” Dyrby told the press.
Dyrby added that he had every reason to trust that Scharf was telling the truth.
Retired PET chief Hans JÃ¸rgen Bonnichsen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper that PET Â“should be interested in identifying the sources that leaked the information to the press, because itÂ’s undermining PETÂ’s reputationÂ”.
Â“If PET really had been monitoring a member of parliament, that would be grounds for speculation about the rule of law and the damage that kind of thing can lead to,Â” Bonnichsen said.
BonnichsenÂ’s own interpretation of the case, based on the leaks and ScharfÂ’s denial, was that PET had never directly investigated Larsen, but that Larsen had probably turned up in the policeÂ’s surveillance of biker gangs.
The former PET chief added that there were two possibilities: either PET had carried out the biker gang investigation or a local police gang unit could have forwarded the information to PET, which then incorporated it into a security review of nominees for cabinet positions in a new Socialdemokraterne-led government.
Larsen was compelled to step down as his party’s political spokesperson and withdraw his name from the short list of ministerial candidates in September, after PET informed the newly-elected prime minister Thorning-Schmidt that he was a security risk.
The reason given was that he had met once and exchanged two text messages with Torben Ohlsen-Jensen, the leader of the Bandidos biker gang. Ohlsen-Jensen was also acquainted with LarsenÂ’s close friend, former KÃ¸ge politician Tommy Kamp.
Scharf clarified on Friday that Larsen himself was not under suspicion for illegal activities.
That left Larsen in what he called Â“a completely absurd situationÂ” and uncertain about who was telling the truth.
Â“PET has put me again and again in situations where I am supposed to respond to rumours or information leaks, which they wonÂ’t allow me to talk about. There are now so many allegations from so many different corners. ItÂ’s just a totally unacceptable situation,Â” he said.
Larsen urged PET to publicise the two-page security brief it prepared on him and presented to the prime minister, so that the truth could come out.
Â“ThereÂ’s nothing in it that could endanger national security,Â” he said.
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