German spy chief threatens Wikileaks

December 19, 2008



The head of the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), Germany's equivalent to the CIA, has threatened Wikileaks with "immediate criminal prosecution" if it does not remove all "files or reports related to the BND".

The spy chief claims to have already engaged the BND's legal machinery.

Last month an international scandal broke out after three BND secret agents were arrested and deported from Kosovo after photographing a recently bombed building in Kristina. The agents were accused of being behind the attack and their note books and electronic files seized by the notoriously corrupt Kosovo government.

Ernst Uhrlau
Ernst Uhrlau

The threats, made by BND President Ernst Uhrlau, were triggered by the Wikileaks publication of an article by Tom Burghardt, a US journalist, on the BND's bungled Kosovo operation, together with a classified BND dossier on senior Kosovo figures from 2005--both of which were specifically named by Mr. Uhrlau.

Wikileaks, an international organization, has a presence in many countries, including Germany (http://wikileaks.de/).

The BND, like the CIA, is forbidden by law to engage in domestic activities. Yet the threats, which were made in German as well as in English, hold no legal power outside of Germany. They must be assumed to be an attempt to engage Wikileaks via its German component--or does Mr. Uhrlau suggest it is now BND policy to kidnap foreign journalists and try them before German courts?

Clearly the BND has learned nothing from the 2006 "Schaefer report" of the Bundestag which condemned illegal BND attempts to influence the German press. Indeed, an unredacted portion of the Schaefer report, which refers to BND attempts to influence Germany's Focus magazine, is one of the "files or reports related to the BND" released by Wikileaks.

The BND has disgraced Germany by engaging in the same illegal domestic interference that it was condemned for a mere two years ago.

Mr. Uhrlau was appointed BND President in 2005.

The contempt shown to German constitution, the Bundestag and also to the press demands Mr. Uhrlau's immediate resignation.

Reporters may contact Image:Wl-press-mail.png for a full copy of the correspondence.

BND articles and records




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