German domestic intel to keep closer tabs on its sources

AP News
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Posted: Nov 02, 2015 12:25 PM
German domestic intel to keep closer tabs on its sources

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's domestic intelligence service said Monday it has compiled a single list of its sources among extremist groups, fulfilling a key demand from lawmakers investigating the agency's failure to crack down on a far-right terror group.

The group, calling itself National Socialist Underground, or NSU, is suspected of killing eight Turkish men, a Greek and a policewoman, and carrying out two bombings between 2000 and 2007. Revelations that several security agencies had sources close to the group but failed to stop it caused national uproar after its existence was uncovered in late 2011.

The new list would provide the country's domestic intelligence service with "a comprehensive insight into the country-wide access to all areas of extremism," said its head, Hans-Georg Maassen.

Authorities have stepped up monitoring of far-right groups amid concerns that extremists might be orchestrating attacks on migrants, who have been coming to Germany in unprecedented numbers in recent months. Officials have recorded some 600 attacks on refugee shelters this year — more than three times as many as in all of 2014.

Parliament plans to establish a panel of inquiry next week to examine the role intelligence sources played in the NSU case.

Petra Pau, a lawmaker with the opposition Left Party, said the panel would likely request files that were withheld from a previous inquiry, including documents that the domestic intelligence agency shredded days after the existence of the NSU was publicly revealed. The files have since been partially restored.

"We know today that a whole load of files and possible witnesses were withheld from us," Pau said.

The sole surviving alleged member of the NSU, Beate Zschaepe, is currently on trial in Munich. Lawyers for relatives and survivors of the NSU attacks, who are co-plaintiffs at the trial, said they want clarity on what the security agencies knew about the group during its 13-year existence.

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Frank Jordans can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/wirereporter