The espionage threat

The espionage threat to Denmark and Danish interests abroad has changed in step with global developments related to security policy and great power politics. The geographic location of Denmark and its membership of forums such as the EU, the Arctic Council and NATO are key factors when assessing the espionage threat to Denmark.

PET believes that a number of countries are actively conducting espionage against the Danish national community, and the threat of cyber espionage is assessed to be on the rise.

Targets of espionage will often include information regarding state institutions, defence and security matters, domestic and foreign policy, energy and raw materials, social matters as well as politics and economics. Other information of interest may include the Danish attitude towards associations and co-operation forums such as the EU, NATO, OSCE and the Arctic Council as well as high-tech knowledge and research results from universities, other institutions of higher learning and private companies.

Cases involving industrial espionage are generally investigated by the police districts. However, if a foreign power is suspected of involvement in industrial espionage, the case will fall under PET jurisdiction.

Espionage is, for example, carried out by intelligence officers from foreign intelligence services working undercover in Denmark as diplomats, reporters, visiting businessmen or tourists. Covers of this nature provide credibility, helping the perpetrators to gain access to the target of the espionage. Intelligence officers use a variety of methods and may, for example, want to recruit and place "moles" in relevant positions in Denmark or initiate grooming of individuals who may at some point receive employment in companies of interest or the state administration.

In a number of instances, the operational and preventive efforts of PET have prevented potential cases of serious espionage. More specifically, PET has disrupted activities that were developing into espionage, for example by informing those involved that PET was aware of ongoing activities that were possibly violating the espionage provisions of the Danish Criminal Code.

In addition, PET has a good co-operation with other intelligence services, contributing to and drawing experience from the international counter-espionage efforts.