German spy agency destroyed employee files of former Nazi members

BND seal

BND seal

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”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #495

News you may have missed #448

  • Russian intel source threatens WikiLeaks. A Russian secret services expert has denied that whistleblower website WikiLeaks poses a threat to Russia, and warned that the “right team” of people could simply shut down WikiLeaks “forever” if it posts classified Russian government documents.
  • UK female spy gave rare interview about WWII exploits. It has emerged that British wartime spy Eileen Nearne, who died aged 89 in September, and whose exploits echoed the fictional character Charlotte Gray, gave an interview 13 years ago –in disguise– in which she told how she was tortured by the Gestapo.
  • Lebanon sentences 3 to death for spying for Israel. A Lebanese military court on Monday sentenced three people to death for spying for Israel. Two of the Lebanese nationals, Sami Farhat and Amar al-Halabi, were sentenced in absentia because they have fled the country. The third man, Jawdat el-Hakim, is held by Lebanese authorities. Dozens of alleged Israeli spy cells have been uncovered in Lebanon in the past year.

New book on Canada’s mysterious Agent 235

Johann Heinrich Amadeus de Graaf

De Graaf

A new book published by the Pennsylvania State University Press sheds new light into the life and work of mysterious Agent 235, Canada’s mysterious mid-20th-century spy known as ‘Johnny’. In Johnny: A Spy’s Life, R.S. Rose and Gordon Scott present the outcome of 14 years of research on ‘Johnny’, whose real name was Johann Heinrich Amadeus de Graaf. De Graaf was born in Germany in 1894, but later moved to Britain, and at the start of World War II worked as an informant for MI6. Although he conducted some of his operations in Germany, most of them took place in the UK, where he unmasked a number of native pro-Nazi sympathizers and agents of the Gestapo. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0006