Terror threat to Denmark due to Mohammed cartoons reduced

Danish intelligence agency PET wiretapped over 2,000 phones last year

Terror threat to Denmark due to the controversial Muhammad cartoons has fallen significantly, claims an expert from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).

According to senior researcher Petter Nesser, who is the co-author of an article on jihadi terrorism in Europe, the militant group known as Islamic State is not targeting Denmark as much as al-Qaeda used to.

In his analysis, Nesser claims that “the number of plots in Scandinavia has decreased drastically compared to previous years.”

READ MORE: Ten years on: Editors reflect on Mohammed cartoon crisis

New targets
“It appears as if the wave of terrorist plots in Scandinavia, which was witnessed especially in 2008-2011 and motivated to a large extent by the publication of the Mohammed cartoons has abated,” says the article that has been published in the magazine Perspectives on Terrorism.

“It was the result of a targeted information campaign and the strong call from al-Qaeda’s top leadership to punish Denmark in retaliation for the cartoons. But IS targets other countries in Europe as their primary goal,” Nesser told Politiken.

Jihadi terrorists are now increasingly plotting in France, the UK and Germany, “increasingly targeting random crowds of people, as opposed to more specific targets with high symbolic value.”

READ MORE: Increased IS threat against Denmark

PET is listening
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the Danish intelligence and security authority PET wiretaps thousands of phones annually.

Based on the so-called transparency reports published by the telecom companies Telenor and Telia, the newspaper Ingeniøren has calculated that PET wiretapped 2,200 phones last year for an average period of 5 months.

In comparison, the Danish police applied for an interception warrant to wire electronic communication in 3,110 cases.

But statistics show that the police usually needs at least two warrants per suspect because they have multiple phones and internet subscriptions, which according to Ingeniøren means that the police listened in on about 1,400 Danes last year.

Jesper Lund, the head of the IT-Political Association, contends that the United States have roughly the same number of wiretaps as Denmark despite a population that is more than 50 times larger.