German Neo-Nazi Terror Investigation: Intelligence Agency Reportedly Sabotaged Police
The police investigation of what is now known as the Zwickau neo-Nazi terror cell was likely hindered by domestic intelligence sabotage, a media report said on Monday. Intelligence agents in the state of Thuringia allegedly disrupted and betrayed police surveillance to those under observation.
The Zwickau neo-Nazi trio of Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt went underground in 1998. Police tried to find them, but new information indicates that state intelligence agents sabotaged their efforts.
Unnamed security officials told daily Berliner Zeitung that the domestic intelligence agency in the state of Thuringia told neo-Nazi leader Tino Brandt about police surveillance of his activities. At the time, Brandt was an active informant for the intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
Brandt was also told that the Thuringia police had rented an apartment near his Rudolstadt house, the paper reported. The neo-Nazi leader’s contacts described which vehicles were being used by the police observation team. Things went so far that at one point intelligence agents in cars were following the police observation team’s cars, which were following Brandt, the paper said.
The latest details in the case — already plagued with tales of police and intelligence errors — come after daily Bild am Sonntag reported on Sunday that the intelligence agency had given Brandt some 2,000 deutsche marks to help the terrorist cell to acquire new passports. Though agents also arranged a middleman, the money never reached the trio, who are now believed to have formed a group called the National Socialist Underground (NSU) and were allegedly responsible for at least 10 murders over seven years, including nine men of Turkish and Greek origin and a police officer.
The case, which came to light in early November after Mundlos shot Böhnhardt and himself in a camping vehicle in Eisenach following a botched bank robbery, has shocked Germany and sparked a new debate over whether the country is doing enough to stop the activities of neo-Nazis. It has also led to renewed calls to ban the NPD.