BERLIN (Reuters) - The head of Germany's military intelligence said in a rare interview that one of his main challenges was to protect defense projects from industrial espionage by the Chinese and Russian secret services.
The Military Counter-intelligence Service has until now kept a much lower public profile than Germany's two other larger federal spy agencies - the BND, which gathers foreign intelligence, and the BfV, charged with domestic intelligence.
Chief Ulrich Birkenheier told Die Welt in an interview published on Monday that "espionage against international defense projects" was a growing challenge, with foreign agents trying to get hold of information about military trials of new defence products.
"Russian and Chinese secret services are still trying to recruit German soldiers. We have to investigate that and prevent it," Birkenheier told Die Welt in the agency's first media interview in its 57-year history.
Germany's intelligence services were seriously criticized after the discovery in 2011 of a small far-right cell, the National Socialist Underground, which murdered nine immigrants and a policewoman, carried out a bomb attack and robbed 14 banks over a decade without being detected.
Birkenheier said that affair had convinced his spy agency "how useful it is to explain our task and our work to the outside world". The service has 1,150 staff, he said, with agents in seven overseas locations including Afghanistan, Kosovo and Djibouti, where the German military takes part in international missions.
(Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
Saudi Arabia Threatens to Sue Anyone Who Compares Their Justice System to ISIS | Christine Rousselle
The Myth of "4 Million Conservative Voters Stayed Home in 2012" | RedState
'Let's fix this': Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe thinks 'white people need a coach'
John Hawkins - 15 Excerpts That Show How Radical, Weird And Out of Touch College Campuses Have Become
S.C. Woman Outdraws, Outshoots, And Kills CraigsList Robber - Bearing Arms - Guns Saving Lives, South Carolina
- What Is Your U.S. Income Percentile Ranking?
Importing Terrorism and Other American Values | Human Events
People who approve publishing lists of gun owners cry foul over published list of Muslims