16 September 1999
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 20:01:18 +0100
Subject: Discussions and events in EU on ECHELON
Re: Caspar's enquiry
Two events are under way in my understanding :
1. Today (not tomorrow) is the first meeting of the Civil Liberties committee of the newly elected EP. I do not understand that ECHELON (ie, my and the other STOA reports) are on the agenda. However, I am told that the new chair of the committee intended to raise it anyway and to have the matter considered at an early future date.
2. I have just visited Denmark to discuss ECHELON with MPs, trade unionists and journalists. The purpose of my visit was to advise about ECHELON and the EP situation. However, I discovered that far from ceasing to conduct SIGINT with NSA co-operation after the end of the cold war, the Danish SIGINT service (FCR/FE) has modernised and expanded its main station, a short bike ride south of Copenhagen airport.
This could mean that Denmark, a known "third party" to the UKUSA agreement, could be participating in some way in the automated intercept processing network we know as ECHELON. Or, it may support some other links with NSA and UKUSA. My visit showed that, since about 1990, the main Danish station had been equipped with new buildings and equipment, including 2 satellite terminals and a British GCHQ interception system called PUSHER. In some ways, the Danish station resembles the New Zealand station at Waihopai, which is where the recent row began.
I have just been told that this has led to an interesting dispute between the Prime Minister and his wife, who is an MEP in a different party. She has apparently made a public statement that the Denmark military must come clean about links to NSA.
In any event, the Minister of Defence was and is scheduled to face questions on Friday from the European Committee of the Folketing (Parliament). I understand that the story has been major news yesterday and today, and that this may continue.
>I have heard a well-sourced rumour that (some committee of) the
>Parliament is scheduled to debate (an) ECHELON report tomorrow.
>Would anyone who tracks down further details kindly post ?
>Caspar Bowden http://www.fipr.org
>Director, Foundation for Information Policy Research
>Tel: +44(0)171 354 2333 Fax: +44(0)171 827 6534