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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BERLIN1740 2007-09-14 11:01:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Berlin
Cable title:  

BUNDESTAG INTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE

Tags:   PREL PTER PGOV GM 
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RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BERLIN 001740 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR L AND EUR/AGS
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2017
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV GM
SUBJECT: BUNDESTAG INTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE
RECONVENES WITH FULL AGENDA AHEAD

REF: BERLIN 164

Classified By: DCM John Koenig for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

SUMMARY



1. (C) On September 13 the Bundestag's Committee of Inquiry
will meet again following the summer recess and continue the
process of questioning individuals concerning the activities
of German intelligence and security agencies relating to the
Iraq war, the alleged abduction and transport of terrorism
suspects via German territory on secret flights, and related
issues. The next sessions will conclude interviews from
witnesses concerning the circumstances surrounding the
abduction and transfer to Guantanamo of Murat Kurnaz followed
by the cases of terrorism suspects Khaled El-Masri, Muhammad
Haydar Zammar, and Abdul H. Khafagy. The recent appointment
of former Federal Data Protection Commissioner Joachim Jacob
as a special investigator for the committee to examine the
issue of the alleged abduction of terrorism suspects by US
agencies and their transport over German territory will place
heightened attention on alleged US activities and US-German
cooperation in this regard. The committee will subsequently
take up the issues of the cooperation of German intelligence
officials based in Baghdad in early 2003 with US agencies,
and, lastly, the allegations that German intelligence
agencies monitored and investigated journalists as well as
exerted influence on media reporting.



2. (C) Given his role in the previous government, FM
Steinmeier (SPD) has come under special scrutiny and has been
dogged by accusations that he was either aware or complicit
in a number of the activities under investigation during his
time as intelligence coordinator in the Federal Chancellery
under the previous government. He appears to have withstood
the most severe criticisms, but opposition parties continue
to press forward with the committee as it provides
opportunities for political gain and showmanship. For this
reason, as well as fact that there is still much of the
committee's mandate to complete, it is expected that the
committee will continue through the end of the legislative
period (i.e., until the next federal elections in fall 2009).
End Summary

Origins and Mandate of the Committee of Inquiry


--------------------------

--



3. (U) The Bundestag Committee of Inquiry was established in
April 2006 following the 20 February 2006 release of a
government report presented to the Bundestag's Parliamentary
Control Panel titled: "On events relating to the Iraq War and
combating international terrorism." (Note: The
German-language report is available online at
www.bundestag.de/aktuell/archiv /2006/pkgr irak/
bericht breg offen.pdf/) The committee was established in
order to clarify unresolved questions related to the report
as well as to make assessments and conclusions concerning the
activities described. In particular, the committee is to
clarify what political directions were given for the actions
of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Federal Office for
the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Federal Armed
Forces Counterintelligence Office (MAD), Federal Prosecutor
General (GBA) and Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in
connection with the events described in the report and how
political leadership and oversight were provided and ensured.



4. (U) The events to be examined by the committee include the
overall issue of "CIA flights and the (secret) prisons for
terror suspects operated by American agencies," and the
arrests and alleged abductions of German citizens or
residents including Murat Kurnaz, Abdul H. Khafagy, Khaled
El-Masri and Muhammad Haydar Zammar. The actions of two BND
officers posted to Baghdad in early 2003 are under
examination and specifically whether information they
obtained concerning the Iraqi military's plan for the defense
of Baghdad was relayed to US authorities. Finally, the
committee will take up the issue of who within the Federal
Chancellery, and at senior levels of the intelligence
service, knew that the BND was monitoring and investigating
journalists as well as exerting influence on media reporting.
(Note: The mandate for the committee is available online in
English at www.bundestag.de/ausschuesse /ua/1 ua/auftrag/
auftrag erweiter eng.pdf)


BERLIN 00001740 002 OF 003


Progress to Date


--------------------------





5. (U) The committee has held over 50 sessions since it began
its work a year and a half ago. Witnesses called before the
committee have included former Interior Minister Schily,
former FM Fischer, current FM Steinmeier and the current and
former heads of the various intelligence and security
services. Senior Chancellery officials, Defense Ministry
representatives and even the former DCM at the German embassy
in Washington DC have been called to testify. Many of the
sessions are open to the public and summary reports are
available on the Bundestag's website.



6. (C) As a result of the tendency of opposition party
committee members to call witnesses that they believe will
provide them the opportunity to criticize the decisions of
the former government, the committee's work has proceeded in
a somewhat unfocussed manner. The committee has tended to
follow whatever issue (e.g., Kurnaz's release from
Guantanamo) is making current media headlines. The recent
appointment of an independent special investigator (see
below) is an attempt to remedy this characteristic of the
committee's work, at least as far as the overflights topic is
concerned.

Special Investigator Joachim Jacob


--------------------------





7. (C) The recent appointment of Joachim Jacob, who from 1993
to 2003 was the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection, as
a special investigator will place extra emphasis on the issue
of alleged CIA overflights of German territory. Jacob, who
will begin his work shortly, is tasked with focusing solely
on the overflights issue and is to provide a report to the
committee by 25 February 2008 on his findings. Jacob will
review relevant materials and meet with individuals of
interest. A staffer of Thomas Oppermann, the senior SPD
Bundestag member on the committee, indicated that Jacob will
screen documents and potential witnesses in order to avoid
situations in which the committee asks for testimonies from
officials who cannot usefully contribute to the work of the
committee. The full committee will then review his report
and will be free to act on Jacob's recommendations and/or
expand on them.



8. (C) Oppermann's staffer indicated that the creation of
Jacob's position was supported by the CDU/CSU and SPD
coalition partners as a means of ensuring that opposition
parliamentarians do not divert or needlessly waste the
committee's time by calling unnecessary witnesses. Many SPD
parliamentarians and especially SPD officials who were active
in the former government are particularly eager to limit
opposition party attempts to score political points in the
committee. In any case, Jacob is seen as both competent and
politically independent and is expected to carry out his work
pragmatically.

Looking Ahead


--------------------------





9. (C) Global Affairs Officer met with Torsten Akmann, who
leads the Chancellery's project group dealing with the
investigative committee, to discuss the committee's
activities and plans. Akmann coordinates a weekly
interagency meeting to coordinate government responses to the
committee's requests. Akmann indicated that the committee
will reconvene to first finish interviewing witnesses related
to the case of Murat Kurnaz. The sequence of the committee's
subsequent work will proceed as follows: El-Masri, Zammar,
Khafagy, overflights, BND involvement in Iraq war, and the
monitoring of journalists.



10. (C) Though many in the current grand coalition
government, especially those who held senior posts in the
former SPD-Green government, would be pleased to see the
committee conclude its work, the opposition has the right to
keep the committee going through the end of the current
legislative period and has every intention to do so given the
opportunities it provides for raising their political
visibility. The fact that the majority of the issues being
examined by the committee touch upon sensitive activities
with alleged US involvement indicates that media attention
will continue to be given to US policies in this regard.

BERLIN 00001740 003 OF 003


TIMKEN JR