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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Danish furore over Iraq secrets
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed the US-led war
Denmark is to declassify intelligence assessments of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction after newspaper leaks led to criminal charges against three men.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the publication of classified material had given rise to doubts about the government's credibility.

An intelligence officer had told two journalists that the government knew Iraq was unlikely to have the weapons.

His claims contradicted Mr Fogh Rasmussen's stance on the issue.

The prime minister supported the US-led invasion and told parliament that he was convinced Iraq was in possession of such weapons.

In a statement read out on Danish radio on Thursday, the prime minister said: "A very extraordinary situation has arisen which has given rise to doubts about the government's credibility.

"On this basis I have today asked the defence minister to initiate the declassification of the Defence Intelligence Agency's assessment of whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction in the period leading up to the initiation of military action."

Reports

Former intelligence officer Major Frank Soeholm Grevil has been charged with breaching the official information act and the two journalists, Jesper Larsen and Michael Bjerre, are charged with exploiting information emerging from a crime.

The major told the reporters at the Berlingske Tidende newspaper he had sent 10 reports to the prime minister which concluded that the coalition was unlikely to find weapons of mass destruction.

Anyone who reads the British news magazine The Economist would not be particularly surprised by the contents of the Danish Iraq assessments
Lt-Gen Kjeld Hillingsoe,
Former military officer
The information was leaked to the paper around January 2003.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen later told the Danish parliament in the run-up to the war, which began on 20 March 2003, that he was convinced Iraq was in possession of such weapons.

"This is not something we just believe. We know," he said.

Major Grevil, who was sacked from his job in March, said he leaked the documents because he did not like the way the government had interpreted the reports he had helped write.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen denies the major's claims and said the information he presented was what he had received from the military intelligence agency.

He has said Denmark joined the US-led coalition because Saddam Hussein did not comply with United Nations resolutions after the 1991 Gulf War.

Statement

Denmark sent a submarine and a warship to participate in the campaign.

Former senior military officer Lieutenant-General Kjeld Hillingsoe told Danish radio that Major Grevil had not revealed major secrets.

"Anyone who reads the British news magazine The Economist would not be particularly surprised by the contents of the Danish Iraq assessments," he said.

But he said he believed it was wrong to publish the documents.

"As a civil servant in the Defence Intelligence Service, you don't publish confidential documents," he said.

"Grevil should have attempted to get his boss to declassify the Iraq assessments, or else he should have kept his mouth shut."

The declassified material will be published before a meeting of the foreign policy board on 19 April, when the prime minister will make a statement on the issue.


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