Prime minister’s office caught up in Bødskov case
New revelations call into question PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt's (S) role in the PET spying case that has already led to two high-profile resignations.
Newly-released documents reveal that Thorning-Schmidt’s (S) permanent secretary Christian Kettel Thomsen was aware of former Justice Minister Morten Bødskov’s (S) involvement in the PET spying case that cost him his job at least three weeks before Bødskov admitted that he lied to parliament on December 10.
Mails dated November 19 from Anne Kristine Axelsson, the currently-suspended head of department at the Justice Ministry, to Thomsen contain drafts of the press release that Bødskov released later that day containing his explanation for why PET pried into the calendar of MP Pia Kjærsgaard (DF) in order to prevent her from attending a trip to Christiania.
In that press release, Bødskov 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.
The early drafts contain language in which Bødskov seem to deliver his mea culpa weeks earlier than he ultimately did.
“In retrospect, I regret that I conveyed to the legal affairs committee an inaccurate picture of the actual reason for the visit could not take place at the appropriate time,” Bødskov is quoted as saying in the draft.
The quote was not in the final version of the release sent out on November 19.
“There are clear differences between the first draft and the final message that was set to parliament,” Enhedslisten spokesperson Pernille Skipper told TV 2 News. “The legal committee received a version that did not include the admission of lying, which raises the question as to whether the Prime Minister’s Office was involved in the cover up.”
What did the PM know?
Skipper intends to take her questions right to the top.
“We must of course have an answer as to whether the prime minister herself was involved.”
That was echoed by Kjærsgaard's Dansk Folkeparti, which has called Thorning-Schmidt into a parliamentary hearing to explain what she knew and when she knew it.
"It is a serious issue for the prime minister, for the Prime Minister's Office and for the entire government that apparently the knowledge of a lie was hidden from parliament and the public for so long – possibly in the hope that it would never see the light of day," DF's Peter Skaarup told DR Nyheder.
In addition to Bødskov, the PET spying scandal also led to the resignation of Jakob Scharf as the domestic intelligence agency's head.