Germany probes loss of intelligence HQ plans

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Germany's intelligence service, the BND, is investigating reports that plans for its new headquarters in Berlin have been stolen, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday.

The allegations were made over the weekend by Focus magazine, quoting an unnamed intelligence official.

"It has not yet been possible to verify the authenticity of the reports, but an investigation was launched into the matter on Friday," Seibert told a regular news conference.

The BND has set up a commission to look into the possible loss of building plans, and the government "takes the matter very seriously," Seibert added.

Following German reunification, it was decided to move the headquarters of the BND from Pullach, on the outskirts of Munich, to the new capital in Berlin.

Building in a former East German district of the capital started in 2006 and construction, at a cost of 1.6 billion euros ($2.2 billion), is expected to be completed in 2014.

Focus reported that the missing plans, which are believed to have been smuggled out of the building site, give details of all the security measures taken for the protection of the headquarters which will employ some 4,000 people.

The BND, one of Germany's three secret services, is responsible for gathering intelligence abroad.

© 2011 AFP

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