Denmark's intelligence agency stops book of ex-boss

AP News
Posted: Oct 08, 2016 11:23 AM
Denmark's intelligence agency stops book of ex-boss

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Danish court has ordered two large Danish media outlets and 40 bookstores across the country not to publish or sell a book based on interviews with Denmark's former domestic intelligence agency chief, Jakob Scharf.

The court injunction was made at the request of Denmark's Security and Intelligence Service, known as PET, which feared the book "Seven years with PET" could contain secrets.

Danish media criticized the court's overnight ruling, which they learned about Saturday. Ekstra Bladet chief editor Poul Madsen says it was "completely ludicrous" that PET "dictates what the free press should print."

"Crazy times in an enlightened democracy," said Joergen Ramskov, chief editor of Radio24syv, one Denmark's largest radio stations, which also received an injunction.

Ekstra Bladet said the injunction forbids wholly or partly printing the book.

The PET agency said Friday it also secured an injunction against the publisher of the book, which is based on interviews with Scharf, the agency's boss for seven years.

In a television interview, PET head Finn Borch Andersen said they had reacted after ads claimed the book was "exposing PET operations, the known and the unknown."

"We now have access to the book and are currently reading it," Borch Andersen told the TV2 channel, adding the agency may ask for the injunction to be lifted if nothing sensitive is found. "We have no interest in holding back the book."

The book is set to be published on Oct. 17.

Jakob Kvist, a spokesman for publisher People's Press, said PET "had demanded to be allowed to make changes." Some 5,000 copies had already been distributed to book stores and at least one shop had already sold it.

Scharf, PET chief from 2007-2013, was in charge when PET foiled terror attacks, mainly linked to the 2005 publication in a newspaper of 12 cartoons by various artists depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Since then, Denmark has been a target of Islamist extremists.