German parliament probes BND role in Iraq war

7th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 April 2006, BERLIN - The German parliament launched an investigation Friday into the activities of the German intelligence agency BND during the Iraq war.

7 April 2006

BERLIN - The German parliament launched an investigation Friday into the activities of the German intelligence agency BND during the Iraq war.

The 11-member parliamentary commission of inquiry will focus on whether the BND helped the US military during the March 2003 invasion to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats had sought to avoid an inquiry, arguing that the issue had already been discussed by another parliamentary panel which oversees the activities of the intelligence services.

But the combined opposition mustered enough votes in parliament to force the setting up of a commission of inquiry, following claims in the US media that German intelligence agents in Iraq passed on information to American forces during the US invasion.

In addition to examining the activities of the BND, the inquiry will look into clandestine CIA flights transporting terrorist suspects across German territory to secret prisons for torture.

It will also investigate whether German officials passed on information about a German citizen of Lebanese origin, Khaled al-Masri, who was mistakenly caught up in the process known as "extraordinary rendition" and interrogated in an Afghan prison before being released months later.

The BND admitted last month that one of its agents worked alongside the US military at its operations command centre during the Iraq war but said he did not pass on any information to the Americans.

Relations between Berlin and Washington at the time were at a low over then-German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's opposition to military action against Iraq, which he made the focus of the 2002 federal election campaign.

Germany's current foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was Schroeder's intelligence services coordinator at the time.

DPA

Subject: German news7 April 2006

BERLIN - The German parliament launched an investigation Friday into the activities of the German intelligence agency BND during the Iraq war.

The 11-member parliamentary commission of inquiry will focus on whether the BND helped the US military during the March 2003 invasion to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats had sought to avoid an inquiry, arguing that the issue had already been discussed by another parliamentary panel which oversees the activities of the intelligence services.

But the combined opposition mustered enough votes in parliament to force the setting up of a commission of inquiry, following claims in the US media that German intelligence agents in Iraq passed on information to American forces during the US invasion.

In addition to examining the activities of the BND, the inquiry will look into clandestine CIA flights transporting terrorist suspects across German territory to secret prisons for torture.

It will also investigate whether German officials passed on information about a German citizen of Lebanese origin, Khaled al-Masri, who was mistakenly caught up in the process known as "extraordinary rendition" and interrogated in an Afghan prison before being released months later.

The BND admitted last month that one of its agents worked alongside the US military at its operations command centre during the Iraq war but said he did not pass on any information to the Americans.

Relations between Berlin and Washington at the time were at a low over then-German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's opposition to military action against Iraq, which he made the focus of the 2002 federal election campaign.

Germany's current foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was Schroeder's intelligence services coordinator at the time.

DPA

Subject: German news

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