Supervision of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service

PET is subject to several forms of external supervision from e.g. the Minister of Justice, the Danish Parliament, the courts and the Intelligence Oversight Board.

Supervision through the Minister of Justice

The Minister of Justice supervises PET’s activities on behalf of the Government, and the service is subject to the Minister’s directions.

PET must keep the Minister of Justice informed of matters related to the internal security of the country, matters of key relevance to the activities of the intelligence service and important individual matters, cf. Section 1 (1)(5) of the PET Act.

Furthermore, it appears from Section 2 of the PET Act that the service must provide an annual review on its activities to the Minister of Justice and that this review must be made public.

Parliamentary supervision

In 1988, the Danish Parliament established a special committee (the Intelligence Services Committee) with the purpose of supervising the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) and PET, cf. Consolidated Act No. 937 dated 26 August 2014 concerning the establishment of a committee on the defence and police intelligence services.

The committee consists of five members of the Danish Parliament who are appointed by the five largest parties in the parliament. The law states that, among other things, the committee must be informed of the general guidelines governing the activities of PET and important matters of a security-related nature. The members of the committee are bound by a duty of non-disclosure in respect of what they learn on the committee.

PET is also subject to supervision by the Ombudsman of the Danish Parliament.

Judicial supervision

PET's use of special investigative measures (such as telephone interceptions, searches and seizures) is subject to judicial review in accordance with the applicable regulations in the Danish Administration of Justice Act.

The Danish Intelligence Oversight Board

On 01 January 2014, the Act on the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (the PET Act) took effect.

A new oversight board, which has replaced the so-called Wamberg Committee, was established in connection with the PET Act. The board, which has been named the Danish Intelligence Oversight Board, is an independent body with its own secretariat.

The regulations related to the board can be found in Chapter 9 of the PET Act.

One of the board's tasks is to supervise PET's handling of personal data, and the board has access to all information and material which is of relevance to the activities of the board.

Moreover, a physical or legal entity can ask the board to examine whether PET is wrongfully handling information concerning the entity in question. Having established that this is not the case, the Oversight Board will notify the individual or entity in question.

The board has five members who can be found on the website of the Intelligence Oversight Board.

Oversight by The National Audit Office

PET’s expenditure, including salaries, etc., are subject to the general audit of police accounts as undertaken by the National Audit Office in co-operation with the audit section of the National Commissioner and the auditors of the Ministry of Justice.

A minor part of PET’s accounts, e.g. those regarding coverage of source-related expenses, are, however, subject to a special audit procedure involving a more thorough audit of the expenses. This audit is carried out by a specially authorised employee of the National Audit Office, who is assisted by an auditor from the Ministry of Justice. The specially authorised employee reports to the Auditor General regarding the audit carried out. Reports are only submitted to the Public Accounts Committee in classified format if required by exceptional circumstances.

Internal supervision

PET is also subject to internal supervision.

With the stipulation of internal guidelines and through continuous internal supervision, PET seeks to ensure that the case administration is in complete accordance with the PET Act, the Administration of Justice Act and any other regulations governing PET.