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Deutschland Military

Finally “fit for war” – Bundeswehr secret service receives extra powers

Ulrich Kraetzer
The sign for the Office for the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) hangs on the fence of the Konrad Adenauer Barracks in Cologne (North Rhine-Westphalia) on May 6, 2016. This year, the MAD is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa (to dpa: "The largely unknown secret service: 60 years of military counterintelligence" from 08.05.2016) ++ The sign for the Office for the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) hangs on the fence of the Konrad Adenauer Barracks in Cologne (North Rhine-Westphalia) on May 6, 2016. This year, the MAD is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa (to dpa: "The largely unknown secret service: 60 years of military counterintelligence" from 08.05.2016) ++

The signal for the Office for the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) hangs on the fence of the Konrad Adenauer Barracks in Cologne (North Rhine-Westphalia) on 06.05.2016. This 12 months the MAD celebrates its sixtieth anniversary. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa (to dpa: “The largely unknown secret service: 60 years of the Military Counterintelligence Service” from 08.05.2016) ++

Sources: image alliance / dpa/Federico Gambarini

The Military Counterintelligence Service is to safeguard the institution and work of the “Lithuania Brigade”. The coalition is engaged on a change within the regulation for this objective. The intelligence service might be given extra powers – however will even be topic to stricter management.

EIt's about espionage and sabotage, extremism and infiltration: The Military Counterintelligence Service, or MAD for brief, is designed to guard the Bundeswehr from enemies of the structure in its personal ranks and from infiltration from outdoors. In view of the elevated significance of the troops, the Ministry of Defense desires to place the work of the intelligence service on a brand new authorized foundation. The MAD might be given extra powers, however will even be higher managed.

The draft invoice for the regulation has been made accessible completely to WELT AM SONNTAG. During overseas missions, the MAD will – not like earlier than – even be allowed to make use of intelligence measures outdoors of Bundeswehr bases. In addition to its personal troopers, it should additionally be capable of monitor foreigners, for instance by means of remark, intercepting telecommunications or utilizing informants.

The Ministry of Defense desires to strengthen the MAD for the “turning point” proclaimed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “The amendment grants the Military Counterintelligence Service the necessary powers to protect the Bundeswehr against espionage and sabotage by foreign powers, as well as against extremist attempts at infiltration from within its own ranks, even during foreign missions,” a ministry spokeswoman confirmed to this newspaper. “We are counting on the law being passed and coming into force this year.”

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD, M.) visiting the NATO exercise “Quadriga 24” in Pabrade, Lithuania, in early May
The Chancellor and the troops

The motive for the push: By the tip of 2027, virtually 5,000 troopers are to be completely stationed on NATO's jap flank, for the primary time within the drive's historical past. The “war-ready brigade”, as Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) describes the necessities for the unit in Lithuania, will function virtually instantly on the Russian border – within reach of a regime that has made espionage and sabotage a standard software of politics below the presidency of former KGB agent Vladimir Putin.

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According to the Ministry of Defense, the present authorized framework signifies that the MAD wouldn’t be adequately geared up to defend towards Russian infiltration makes an attempt. In reality, the key service is at present solely allowed to make use of its weapons throughout the Bundeswehr barracks and solely towards its personal troopers throughout overseas missions. However, the MAD isn’t usually allowed to focus on overseas instigators and spies, nor overseas saboteurs.

The new regulation is meant to vary that – and to strengthen the service in a elementary approach. Compared to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) and the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), which is liable for overseas intelligence, it has to this point led a distinct segment existence with its roughly 1,500 workers.

This was additionally evident within the MAD regulation. The set of legal guidelines, which was solely handed in 1990, 34 years after the service was based, regulates its powers primarily by means of references to the regulation on the safety of the structure. Lawyers say that elements of the MAD regulation are “completely incomprehensible”.

Defence Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) visited the Federal Office for Military Counterintelligence in Cologne in September 2023

Defence Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) visited the Federal Office for Military Counterintelligence in Cologne in September 2023

Quelle: image alliance/Panama Pictures

The site visitors mild coalition additionally sees a necessity for reform in view of a collection of mishaps wherein the MAD hardly lived as much as its position as an early warning system. For instance, within the case of Carsten L.: The former head of the Bundeswehr's technical intelligence division was arrested in December 2022 as a result of he allegedly handed inner info on to the Russians. The Bundeswehr didn’t study this from the MAD – however from an intelligence service from overseas.

How weak the troops are to extremist infiltration from inside their very own ranks was proven when the Reich Citizens round Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss have been uncovered: the group additionally included former and energetic troopers. In February it was additionally revealed that the Russians have been in a position to pay attention to an internet dialogue in regards to the Taurus cruise missile. Bundeswehr officers had used an unsecured line.

The coalition says that the draft for the brand new MAD regulation might be handed by the tip of this 12 months. The timetable appears bold, as a result of the reform isn’t a stand-alone challenge.

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An artificial palm tree in front of the BND complex in Berlin – the artwork was inspired by actual radio masts disguised as palm trees

The site visitors mild coalition additionally desires to adapt the legal guidelines for the BfV and the BND. The Constitutional Court has known as for the explanations for using intelligence sources to be outlined extra exactly. At the initiative of the Greens, the “Independent Control Council”, which was initially established for the BND, can be to look at intelligence operations for the BfV and the MAD prematurely to make sure they’re authorized. The legal guidelines for the three providers should due to this fact be coordinated. This is a fancy course of, they are saying. In essence, nonetheless, the coalition companions are in settlement with the Chancellery, the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Defense.

The Vice-Chairman of the Green Party parliamentary group, Konstantin von Notz, also heads the Parliamentary Control Committee of the Bundestag

The Vice-Chairman of the Green Party parliamentary group, Konstantin von Notz, additionally heads the Parliamentary Control Committee of the Bundestag

Source: dpa/Monika Skolimowska

The Green Party's deputy parliamentary group chief Konstantin von Notz confused that anybody who takes the “turning point” severely should contemplate an “update” of the legal guidelines in view of the tense safety state of affairs. The Constitutional Court has set out tips. “For example, all intelligence resources must be sufficiently defined and clearly formulated and, depending on the depth and severity of the intervention, subject to independent prior control,” mentioned von Notz.

The FDP's protection spokesman, Alexander Müller, additionally known as for clear laws on powers. “We are proceeding from the principle that we need strong intelligence services that are subject to strong control,” mentioned Müller.

We are the WELT investigative workforce: Do you might have any info for us? Then please get in contact, even confidentially – by e-mail or by way of the encrypted messenger Threema (BNJMCK4S).

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