July 12, 2011 in News
German Intelligence Agency Looking Into Reports of Stolen Blueprints (New York Times):
In a turn of events worthy of a spy novel, the German government said Monday that it had begun an investigation into reports that classified blueprints for its new billion-dollar foreign intelligence headquarters had been stolen.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the intelligence agency had established a commission working under “high pressure” to look into whether plans for its new headquarters in Berlin had been taken and, if so, how far-reaching the security breach had been.
“The government is keenly interested in clarifying the situation quickly,” Mr. Seibert said, adding that it took the matter “very seriously.”
The weekly news magazine Focus first reported that the classified building plans had been stolen, including those for the technical and logistics center that a former high-ranking official at the agency called the “beating heart” of the complex. According to the magazine, the plans included “the exact function of every single room, the thickness of each wall, the exact position of every toilet and every emergency exit and every security checkpoint.”
Wolfgang Bosbach, a leading member of Mrs. Merkel’s party, told the newspaper Saarbrücker Zeitung it was “embarrassing to the highest degree that a secret service of all things would have secret documents stolen.” It is also an embarrassment for Mrs. Merkel’s government, which already was coping with severe criticism over the leaked news of a secret agreement to send 200 tanks to Saudi Arabia.
Germany Probing Disappearance of Spy Agency Blueprint (Bloomberg):
Germany said it’s investigating the possible disappearance of design plans for the new headquarters of the country’s top spy agency in central Berlin.
The classified blueprints for Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, were taken from the headquarters’ secure construction site in the German capital’s Mitte district, Focus magazine reported on July 10. Officials are under “great pressure” to find out the extent of any security breach.
“This is a serious situation,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters today in Berlin. “The government has keen interest in clarifying this situation quickly.”
A disappearance could be a blow for the spy agency, possibly preventing foreign counterparts from sharing intelligence. The designs contain sensitive data on the building’s technology and logistics facilities as well as the position of emergency exits, security and cable layouts, Focus said. The magazine didn’t say how it obtained the information.
The data, likely stored in a USB stick, was stolen a year ago, forcing building planners to redesign the interior of the building, ARD television reported today, citing an unnamed government official. The incident will likely add to the cost of 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion), the broadcaster said.
Thomas Oppermann, a floor leader for the opposition Social Democrats in parliament, called for swift action by the Transport Ministry, which is in charge of construction projects, and criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel for the incident.
Geheimpläne beim BND gestohlen (Focus.de):
Blamage für den Bundesnachrichtendienst: Nach FOCUS-Informationen wurden mehrere geheime Baupläne der neuen BND-Zentrale in Berlin vom streng überwachten Gelände geschmuggelt. Außerdem soll ein BND-Abteilungsleiter am Dienstcomputer Pornos heruntergeladen haben.
Der Großteil der Pläne betrifft den geheimsten Teil des künftigen BND-Zentrums. Die internen Darstellungen des Technik- und Logistikzentrums offenbaren sensible Angaben wie Notausgänge, Schleusen, Positionen von Alarmanlagen, Antiterror-Einrichtungen, Türen- und Deckendicke sowie Kabelschächte. Dies bestätigte ein zu Rate gezogener Diplom-Ingenieur. Die hochpräzisen Karten wurden nach FOCUS-Recherchen bereits vor über einem Jahr von der Baustelle geschmuggelt.
Ein früherer ranghoher Sicherheitsbeamter des BND sagte zu FOCUS, der materielle Schaden für den Nachrichtendienst sei immens. Ebenso schwer wiege der Imageschaden des BND bei seinen Partnerdiensten. Befreundete Geheimdienste könnten nach dem Abfluss vertraulicher Unterlagen nicht mehr sicher sein, dass geheime Dossiers beim BND in guten Händen seien. Der BND wollte sich zum Verlust der Baupläne nicht äußern. Auch der eigentliche Bauherr der zirka 1,6 Milliarden teuren BND-Zentrale, das Bundesamt für Bauwesen, lehnte einen Kommentar ab.
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