Schroeder 'didn't know' about alleged spy help

12th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 January 2006, BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Thursday former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government had no knowledge about German spies in Baghdad having allegedly helped the U.S. to choose bombing targets for the Iraq war.

12 January 2006

BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Thursday former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government had no knowledge about German spies in Baghdad having allegedly helped the U.S. to choose bombing targets for the Iraq war.

Steinmeier, who was Schroeder's chief-of-staff and in charge of coordinating the intelligence services, said Berlin had taken a clear stance of not getting involved in the Iraq war and that all officials working for the state had followed this line.

When asked if he knew anything about reports by ARD TV and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that members of Germany's BND intelligence service helped choose targets for U.S. bombers in the war, Steinmeier replied: "No."

Schroeder led European opposition to the 2003 Iraq war.

A BND spokesman confirmed its agents had been based in Baghdad - German spies are believed to work at all of Berlin's major embassies - but firmly denied any help had been given to the U.S. in targeting bombs.

The spokesman insisted the stationing and the work of all BND agents had been agreed in advance with the Schroeder government.

He termed media reports alleging BND cooperation with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency as "distorted and untrue".

Former foreign minister Joschka Fischer has also said he did not know anything about allegations other than what he had read in the media.

Opposition leaders are calling for a probe into the allegations.

DPA

Subject: German news

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