A terrible week for German spy agencies

Germany’s largest intelligence agencies are in for a challenging few days, as two spy scandals are making headlines in the country’s media.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz or BfV), Germany’s foremost domestic intelligence organization, is firmly in the hot seat after it emerged that a woman it employed as an undercover informer was among seven extremists indicted for helping operate a hardcore neo-Nazi online radio station.

The woman, who has been identified only as “Sandra F.”, had been hired by the spy agency to monitor the German People’s Union (Deutsche Volksunion or DVU), a national socialist political grouping with substantial following in Brandenburg and Saxony. But in turns out that, while spying for the government, she was also busy strengthening the neo-Nazi group’s online presence through the European Brotherhood Station, which, among other things, aired instructions on how to build homemade bombs.

Another court case due to start this week will undoubtedly draw the public’s attention to the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND), Germany’s primary external intelligence agency. Court papers reveal that a BND field agent stationed in Kosovo, where German intelligence is currently extremely active, shared intelligence secrets with his gay lover for several years.

The agent, identified only as “Anton K.”, is accused of passing classified information to his Kosovar interpreter, Murat A., who was “involved with the Albanian (Sherbimi Informativ Shteteror, SHISH or State Intelligence Service) and Macedonian (Agencija za razuznavanje) intelligence agencies”. According to Der Spiegel magazine, the information Anton K. shared with Murat A. included “insights into the entire network of sources of the BND’s Kosovo office”.

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