German spy agency destroyed employee files of former Nazi members
December 1, 2011 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Germany’s primary spy agency has admitted that it recently destroyed the personnel files of some of its employees who used to be members of Nazi-era organizations during World War II, before they were hired to spy for West Germany in the postwar era. The discovery of the destruction of the files was made by a group of German historians appointed by the government to investigate the extent to which the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s postwar foreign intelligence agency, relied on former Nazi officials. It has been known for some time that a tenth of the BND’s postwar personnel had been members of the Hitler-era National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the Gestapo, the SS and its intelligence wing, the SD. Earlier this year, however, the BND’s outgoing Director, Ernst Uhrlau, appointed an independent commission of historians to research the BND’s attitude toward the hundreds of former Nazi officials within its ranks. Now the independent commission has told German media that, in 2007, the spy agency destroyed approximately 250 personnel files belonging to BND employees with Nazi pasts. The commission’s spokesman, Dr Klaus-Dietmar Henke, told German newsmagazine Der Spiegel that the destroyed files primarily related to people who occupied “significant intelligence positions in the SS, the SD or the Gestapo”. Der Spiegel, which described the incident as “a true historical scandal”, said that the destruction of the files “inevitably raises suspicions that agency employees have deliberately tried to obstruct [...] efforts to investigate the organization’s history”. It also notes that, for several decades after the end of World War II, the BND deliberately exercised a policy of recruiting new staff from among the family members of existing BND personnel. Consequently, many BND employees are direct descendants of those former Nazi officials mentioned in the destroyed documents, and would therefore have an interest in protecting their family reputations by destroying the files. The BND has admitted that the files were destroyed, but said that they represented less than 2% of the total size of the agency’s archive available to historians. The agency added that the files were destroyed because “they were not deemed to be worth keeping”.