Germany to probe 'aid' for US during Iraq war

6th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 March 2006, BERLIN - The German parliament is likely to set up an investigation over allegations that German spies in Baghdad supplied targeting information to the US during the 2003 Iraq war, sources told Deutsche Press-Agentur on Monday.

6 March 2006

BERLIN - The German parliament is likely to set up an investigation over allegations that German spies in Baghdad supplied targeting information to the US during the 2003 Iraq war, sources told Deutsche Press-Agentur on Monday.

The opposition Free Democratic Party (FDP) has agreed to join forces with the Greens and the Left Party which will give the opposition bloc enough votes to launch a probe, the sources said.

But the three parties - which have sharply varying political agendas - still have to hammer out a joint agenda for the investigation.

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, said last week that one of its agents worked alongside the US military at its operations command centre during the Iraq war but did not pass on any information to the Americans.

The admission came a day after The New York Times reported that a BND liaison officer based at US Central Command in Qatar passed on information gathered by two other BND agents in Iraq before and during the early stages of the war in 2003.

The information relayed to the Americans always went through BND headquarters in the southern German town of Pullach near Munich, "and had no relevant military value," the BND said.

The BND said the German intelligence agency made 25 reports to the Americans and answered 18 specific requests for information during the first few months of the Iraq war.

In two lengthy stories this week The New York Times described the activities of the BND agents in Iraq and said their involvement with the Americans was much greater than the Germans had previously admitted.

The BND said the decision to station an intelligence officer in Qatar from early 2003 through the invasion on March 20, 2003, was approved by the German government.

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.

The New York Times also reported that the German intelligence agents in Baghdad in 2003 obtained a copy of Saddam Hussein's defence plans for the capital, which were passed on to the United States.

Berlin strongly denied the story and said it was never aware of the Baghdad defence plans.

The paper said the US-German intelligence-sharing arrangement was made and approved in late 2002 by officials that included then- foreign minister Joschka Fischer and the current foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was Schroeder's intelligence services coordinator.

The three German agents in Iraq were rewarded with the American Meritorious Service Medal for their work, a procedure which the BND said was standard practice.

DPA

Subject: German news

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