Greater control of spy agency on the cards

After nearly 14 years work, a report will be released today recommending tighter control of PET

A long awaited report on Denmark’s domestic intelligence agency, PET, due out today will recommend strengthening oversight of the organisation, sources say.

According to information obtained by Jyllands-Posten, the Wendler-Pedersen Committee (WPC) is expected to recommend that PET's activities become enshrined in law and for the current oversight authority, the Wamburg Committee, to be replaced by a stronger body with a permanent secretariat with expanded powers.

The WPC will also recommend that individuals who have been investigated by PET should be allowed access to their files.

The report’s findings will be sent to consultation until June after which a decision about the future of PET will be debated in parliament.

There is already a general consensus amongst Danish political parties to increase control, however.

“We have to have more openness and control of the intelligence services,” Radikale justice spokesperson Jeppe Mikkelsen said. “And we can’t ignore the Wamberg Committee. We either need to abolish it or we have to significantly strengthen it, for example, by having a permanent secretariat.”

In the past few weeks, Jyllands-Posten has focused on the issues facing PET and has revealed that there is much less transparency of the intelligence agencies in Denmark than in many other European countries.

PET is currently controlled by several oversight committees, which are comparatively weak, while scope of the agencies activities are not enshrined in law, but rather dictated in guidelines set out by the justice and defence ministries.

Government support party Enhedslisten is a strong proponent of increased control of PET and has even written a proposal for a law covering PET’s activities. Enhedslisten is proposing a special PET ombudsman that will be able to investigate cases against PET on its own initiative and force employees of PET to give explanations.

The PET ombudsman will also handle complaints from people who have had a security clearance turned down, as was the case with Socialdemokrat MP Henrik Sass Larsen, who was denied a seat in the cabinet as a result.

“With the expansive powers that PET has, it’s completely natural that they should be controlled just like any other authority,” Enhedslisten justice spokesperson Pernille Skipper said.

The demand for greater control was also echoed by the justice spokesperson for opposition party Venstre, Karsten Lauritzen.

The WPC was established in April 1998 and tis work has cost 1.2 million kroner.





  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.