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German intelligence service downplays leak

German intelligence service downplays leak

The head of Germany's intelligence service said Tuesday that a leak of building plans for its new Berlin headquarters isn't a major security issue and shouldn't affect construction, though is cause for concern.
Ernst Uhrlau told a rare press conference at the current Berlin office of the Federal Intelligence Service, known by its German acronym BND, that an investigation is under way to try and determine how Germany's Focus magazine got a hold of plans for the (EURO)720 million ($1 billion) facility.
He said that, from the details of an article in the weekly's current issue, it appears the blueprints it say it viewed are for a part of the sprawling project that includes a parking garage and electrical systems _ both of which could be identified as such by someone looking in from the street.
Still, Uhrlau conceded that he didn't yet know whether the magazine's claim that they had been smuggled out of the building site a year ago was true, or whether the magazine potentially had more sensitive material.
"I don't know what, or if Focus has something else," he said.
Focus and other German media reports, which cited anonymous sources, have alleged the missing plans included information about the location of the alarm system and anti-terror facilities.
But Uhrlau said that while many of the hundreds of workers on the construction site from several companies may have had access to general building plans, blueprints for more sensitive elements of the building, such as the security system, are kept to a smaller group under stricter controls.
He said there is "no evidence" that any sensitive materials are missing.
The comments come after Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday the government had ordered an investigation into the plans' reported disappearance.
Lawmaker Walter Bosbach, a security expert with Merkel's Christian Democrats, said on rbb-Inforadio Tuesday that investigators need to determine quickly what exactly was stolen, and whether the building plans would have to be partially redrawn _ and how much it would cost taxpayers.
"This is a very serious matter. Just how serious it is depends naturally upon what exactly is in the plans," he said.
Uhrlau said that, from what he knows so far, there is no indication that the building plans will need to be changed.
The building is being built as part of a plan to move the bulk of the intelligence agency from the Munich suburb of Pullach to the capital.
Eventually, some 4,000 of the BND's 6,000 employees will work in the 2.8 million square-foot (260,000 square meter) building in downtown Berlin.
Construction began in 2008 and the move into the new offices is expected to be complete by 2014.


Updated : 2021-07-30 15:35 GMT+08:00