Further details on German spy arrests in Kosovo

Further detailed information has seen the light of day in relation to the recent arrest of three German intelligence agents in Kosovo. The three spies, which were arrested while investigating the scene of an explosion at the EU offices in Pristina, were part of a constant presence in the Kosovar capital of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service. Their cover was being employed by a BND front company called LCAS (Logistics-Coordination & Assessment Service), which was registered in Munich in April of 2007, and has “offices” in Pristina. The operation was so secret that “the official BND attaché stationed at the German Embassy in Pristina knew nothing of it. The German ambassador was likewise in the dark”, according to a new report by Der Spiegel. This would also explain (though not necessarily justify) why it was these agents, and not the BND resident at the German Embassy, who were sent to investigate the explosion at the EU building on November 14. The Kosovar government is now expected to use the information it gained from the arrest of the three agents, as well as from raiding the LCAS office in Pristina, to uncover the “extensive network of informants among high-ranking functionaries of the KLA and the Kosovar administration […] which is more extensive in Kosovo than in most countries around the world” and which the BND has maintained since the early 1990s in this former region of Serbia. Specifically, the Spiegel article further states that “the Kosovo government may now arrest large numbers of informants who have provided the BND with valuable information”. [JF]

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Analysis: German intelligence in Kosovo

The epicenter of the latest round of intelligence positioning in the Balkans is the tiny Albanian-dominated region of Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. In the early hours of November 14, Kosovo Police arrested three individuals suspected of detonating an explosive device at the International Civilian Office, an urban landmark in capital Pristina that houses the office of the European Union’s (EU) special envoy to Kosovo. The three turned out to be German Federal Intelligence Service agents, employees of Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service. What is more, all of them appeared to be working in deep cover (“in private capacity”, as the Kosovo Police spokesperson put it), having no affiliation with the German Embassy in Pristina, no diplomatic passports and no diplomatic immunity. Would the BND really instruct its agents to place a bomb at the EU mission in Pristina? And what is the BND doing in Kosovo anyway? Joseph Fitsanakis explains. [JF]

 

REFERENCES CITED IN THIS REPORT:

Fitsanakis, J. (2008) “German Intelligence Active in Kosovo”, intelNews, November 29

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