Friday, January 13, 2006

Süddeutsche on BND scandal

Here is a translation of part of the first article I found about the emerging scandal in Germany about the assistence given by the BND, the German federal intelligence agency, to the U.S. in the Iraq war. This is about half of the article.

We all knew that Schröder was a demagogue, but if it turns out that he approved the BND's assistance to the Amis in their illegal and immoral incursion into Saddam's Iraq, then this hypocrisy seems likely to tarnish his reputation somewhat, given that he based his popularity on anti-Americanism to a great extent.

Secret Cooperation

BND helped Americans in Iraq War [12.01.2006]

In spite of official repudiation by the Federal Government of the military strikes, the German intelligence services is supposed to have supported the U.S.A. in the reconaissance of bombing targets. The Chancellor's office was informed.

By Hans Leyendecker and Wolfgang Krach

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) supported the American troops in Spring 2003 during the Iraq war, and possibly even helped identify bombing targets.

According to the information of the Süddeutsche Zeitung and of the ARD television magazine "Panorama", at least two members of the BND remained in Baghdad during the entire war and supplied the U.S. military with information. The cooperation was explicitly approved by Ernst Uhrlau, then intelligence service coordinator in the Chancellor's office, and August Hanning, then president of the BND.

A high-ranking German security official who wishes to remain anonymous, told the SZ on Wednesday that two BND agents had found refuge in the French embassy after the German embassy had been vacated on March 17, 2003--three days before the start of the war. The BND staffers continued their work during the war.

In addition, there was eooperation with the U.S. intelligence service Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). On the level of intelligence services "there was to be no speechlessness". "The situation in Baghdad was virgin territory for the BND", added the official.

On Wednesday, the word in intelligence circles was that the decision to cooperate with the Americans had been a "political decision" of the Red-Green federal government. Publicly, the government of Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had always maintained that it rejected the Iraq war, and that it therefore also didn't participate in it.

The high-ranking intelligence official said that the leadership of the BND decided after consultation with the Chancellor's office to continue its cooperation with the Americans during the war. "That was not a decision of some division head". Part of the assignment of the BND was to report targets that should not be bombed to the Americans. This "non-targeting of hospitals or embassies" was one of the assignments of the BND in Iraq. The U.S.A. had requested this assistance.