State intelligence agency hired spy in parliament | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 23.03.2010
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Germany

State intelligence agency hired spy in parliament

A German newspaper reported that the Berlin branch of the German interior intelligence service employed an aide of former member of parliament Andreas Weigel from 2003 to 2005, while Weigel was still in office.

Andreas Weigel

Weigel sat in parliament from 2002 to 2009

A research assistant to a former member of the German parliament, the Bundestag, was employed by the Berlin state intelligence service while the parliamentarian was in office, the daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung reported on Tuesday.

The aide, named only as Timo N., worked for Andreas Weigel, who represented a constituency in the eastern state of Saxony for the Social Democratic Party from 2002 to 2009. Timo N. allegedly held a contract with the Berlin branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's interior intelligence agency, from 2003 to 2005.

Weigel said he was aware of the extra employment of Timo N., who was an expert in Islamism and terrorism and had access to confidential documents as well as NATO documents as part of his position. But Weigel did not inform the head of his party or the parliamentary officials of the employment.

Atypical situation

Such double-employment is highly unusual, according to the report, and could ultimately hurt the intelligence service's goals.

"The damage that could be caused by an exposure does not counterbalance the potential usefulness of such an operation," a high-ranking official said.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution declined to comment on the report, but admitted that parallel employment by the intelligence service and parliament was in principle "incompatible." It added, however, that exceptions could be made "in certain individual cases."

Opposition Left Party politician Klaus Ernst in Berlin on Tuesday demanded an explanation on the report, saying parliament should be off-limits to the secret service and that the law regarding double-employment must be clarified.

acb/dpa/AFP
Editor: Ben Knight

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