US embassy spied on Danes - report

2010-11-06 07:24

Copenhagen - The US embassy in Copenhagen secretly conducted surveillance in the Danish capital, the TV2 commercial broadcaster alleged on Friday in the wake of similar accusations in neighbouring Norway.

A unit attached to the embassy, counting at least 14 people, has conducted surveillance of the area surrounding the mission building 24 hours a day, a former member of the unit told TV2.

A US embassy spokesperson refused to comment on the report, but said the mission might issue a statement later.

TV2 meanwhile claimed the unit had kept tabs on Danish residents, adding their names and personal data to a special computer database, SIMAS (Security Incident Management Analysis System).

It had even tailed "suspicious" individuals near the embassy building, according to a source.

It remained unclear if Danish authorities had been aware of the surveillance, which would clearly be illegal if it was going on without authorisation.

The Danish justice ministry also refused to comment on the report, but said that Justice Minister Lars Barfoed had been summoned to a closed parliamentary hearing on the matter within the next two weeks.

The news came on the heels of similar revelations in Norway.

The Norwegian TV2 news channel reported late on Wednesday that the US embassy in Oslo had employed between 15 and 20 people, including former high-ranking police officers, to monitor local residents in a bid to ward off attacks on US interests in the country.

The surveillance had been going on since 2000, said the report.