Bødskov says he helped cancel Kjærsgaard’s Christiania visit

Pressures on justice minster mounting in wake of PET surveillance scandal

Morten Bødskov (S), the justice minister, said that he was involved in the decision to cancel a trip by parliament’s legal committee to Christiania last February. Bødskov (S) is under pressure following the resignation of Jakob Scharf as head of the domestic intelligence agency, PET.

Former PET officers accused Scharf of telling them 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.

Read more: PET in hot water for allegedly spying on Pia Kjærsgaard

Bødskov is now facing questions over whether he knew about Scharf’s plans all along.

The justice minster now says he made the decision to cancel the trip after consulting with Anne Baastrup (SF), the head of parliament’s legal committee.

“I want to clarify that the head of the committee and I believed that the planned visit to Christiania should be postponed,” Bødskov wrote in an email to Ritzau. "It was not a decision she made alone.”

Facing criticism for his part in decisions to both stop the trip and to keep that information secret, Bødskov said that he was protecting police and PET.

“This is about sources in environments that provide police and PET insight into what is going on,” Bødskov wrote. “If you disclose it, you risk compromising the intelligence service's foundation.”

Baastrup’s explanation for the cancelled visit was that the then chief of police in Copenhagen, Johan Reimann, was unable to attend a meeting.

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.

READ MORE: Did justice minister know about plans to spy on Kjærsgaard?

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.

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.

Kjærsgaard visited Christiania together with the rest of parliament’s legal committee in June 2012.