Did justice minister know about plans to spy on Kjærsgaard?
Justice minister Morten Bødskov (S) is under pressure following yesterday’s resignation of Jakob Scharf, the head of the domestic intelligence agency, PET.
Scharf said he stepped down due to political and media scrutiny over his style of leadership in the secretive agency.
In September, 600 PET officers withdrew from a so-called ‘co-operation agreement’ with their management, which resulted in the resignation of PET’s head of administration, Mette Lyster Knudsen, in November.
Kjærsgaard Christiania scandal
Complaints from officers led to the revelation that Scharf had asked officers to illegally look into the calendar of Dansk Folkeparti MP Pia Kjærsgaard.
Kjærsgaard wanted to visit Christiania with parliament’s legal committee, but Scharf thought protecting her would prove too costly and he attempted to find a time for the trip when she wouldn't be able to attend.
Scharf denies spying on Kjærsgaard's calendar however, and in June 2012 Kjærsgaard visited Christiania together with the rest of parliament’s legal committee.
Did Bødskov know?
In a press release, the Justice Ministry stated that prying into the calendars of people under the protection of PET in order to prevent them from attending a meeting would not be allowed unless the person in question was informed.
Bødskov is now facing questions from a number of politicians over whether he knew about Scharf’s plans all along.
“I can’t imagine anything other than that the justice minister was fundamentally involved in the case – he is after all the top manager for the police,” Kjærsgaard told DR Nyheder.
Kjærsgaard went on to criticise PET’s “sick management culture” and condemned Scharf’s attempt to protect her by stopping her from visiting Christiania.
“PET tried to stop me from doing my political work and that is completely unacceptable,” she said.
“PET’s job is to determine how much protection I need, not to stop me from going or finding a date to make it inconvenient.”
She is supported by fellow DF MP Peter Skaarup, who thinks Bødskov should step down if he knew of Scarf’s plans.
Far-left party Enhedslisten and opposition party Venstre have also demanded that Bødskov come clean about whether he was briefed about PET’s plans to illegally pry into Kjærsgaard’s calendar.