• Germany's news in English
 

Spying on leftist MPs condemned

The Local · 24 Jan 2012, 11:02

Published: 24 Jan 2012 11:02 GMT+01:00

The political outrage was led by Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), who told Monday’s edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “If this is really true, it would be unacceptable.”

“The work of freely-elected Bundestag representatives cannot be limited by the Verfassungsschutz,” she continued.

The fury came after Der Spiegel magazine revealed on Monday that 27 of the Left party’s 76 Bundestag MPs were being watched by the Verfassungsschutz, as Germany’s domestic intelligence agency is known.

The magazine said the list not only included members of the leftist party’s more radical wing, but several acknowledged moderates, plus nearly all the party’s leaders, including Gregor Gysi, Gesine Lötzsch, and deputy Sahra Wagenknecht.

The agency has been under pressure recently over its handling of neo-Nazi terrorists who were uncovered in the eastern town of Zwickau. “After the series of foul-ups over the Zwickau cell, the Verfassungsschutz should re-think its priorities of its own accord,” said Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.

Sigmar Gabriel, head of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), echoed the criticism, saying, “Haven’t they got anything better to do?”

Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to join in the condemnation however, commenting via her spokesman Steffen Seibert, “the ways that a task is fulfilled can always be re-examined to see whether certain measures are appropriate or not.”

Wolfgang Bosbach, Merkel’s party colleague in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and head of the parliamentary domestic affairs committee, was less oblique, saying the intelligence agency should justify the surveillance of MPs on a case-by-case basis.

Bosbach told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper, “If you hold a communist platform in the party, then you shouldn’t wonder if you are being watched by the Verfassungsschutz.” But he added that membership of the Left party was not enough justification for surveillance.

But German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, of the CDU's Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), came out in vehement defence of the Verfassungsschutz on Tuesday.

“There are significant indications that the Left party has anti-constitutional tendencies,” he told state broadcaster ZDF, justifying the agency's actions. “That is part of the law, and can’t be changed.”

The Left party has responded to the revelations by calling for the abolition of the domestic intelligence agency, whose German name translates as “Constitution Protection.”

“In its current form, the Verfassungsschutz is not protecting the constitution,” Left leader Lötzsch said on Monday. She said that keeping MPs under surveillance was tantamount to “an attack on the constitution and the free democratic order.”

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:37 January 24, 2012 by Wrench
That's funny, I thought they were all Socialist.
12:20 January 24, 2012 by Navigator_B
I guess the Verfassungsschutz can't take any risks with any of those people. I mean, some of those lefties might be associated with a system that spies on people who disagree with it. Oh wait, I'll have to think about that.
15:55 January 24, 2012 by McM
Spy vs Spy. Great stuff. Cuff link politians!
21:32 January 24, 2012 by Whipmanager
It was Breznev (sp?) that told us they would get us frmo the inside. We all know that the left has no problems using the laws against us to undo us. It is no secret that often, you just know somethin gis right but you can't prove it. this spate of NAZI killings did not go on in a vaccuum nor did it happen without some help.

I am seeing that there is shock and comdenation of the Verfassungsschutz, but this is what they are supposed to do. They spy, they find things out, and if there is nothing to find out they go away, and no one should be the wiser. freedom doesnt come cheap. They do not have the right to collect the info and use it against anyone for political gain, but that happens everyday, and if you are a member of Parliament, you know you shold be discreet and not open yourselves to undue attention. You make a very good wage, it will pay foro life and you don't earn it-in any country.

So, what I gather is that the spies are doing their job to protect teh union, and should be thoughtful on how they do their job, discreet, professional and do as they are ordered to do. You can't abolish them for they are the last line of defense against people like Heyheyhey and his ilk.
21:57 January 24, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Whipmanager

"We all know that the left has no problems using the laws against us to undo us."

Is it the obvious falseness of the statement that makes you claim that you represent all of us?

"this spate of NAZI killings ... did not happen without some help."

Of course not. It was already revealed that the slick boys from Verfassungsschutz paid them significant amounts of money.

So let's see: Verfassungsschutz spies on the moderates from the Left Party that do nothing illegal and in the same time fails to prevent the murders committed by the Nazis. Good job, boys! One could safely say that you have political sympathies.
23:36 January 24, 2012 by H_BinAli
The socialist Left are magicians who do not want You to see behind the curtain. Obviously, magicians are the most afraid of this invasion of privacy. .

The Left complains about 'Police Brutality', all while provoking the Police. The goal of the Left and 99% is to create a Police state strong enough to enforce the Laws they wish to implement. Ever wonder why Orwell's 1984 was a Police State? The Left loves the Government, and they want to make sure it is big enough for their plans for it. With the Left, it is always about the end game.
Today's headlines
The Local List
7 ways Germans get English totally wrong
Don't let their confidence fool you: Germans aren't always the best at English. Photo: DPA.

7 ways Germans get English totally wrong

2 hours ago

As much as English-speakers might feel insecure about their Deutsch skills when faced with Germans' comparatively widespread grasp of English, Germans themselves often mess up English - in some pretty hilarious ways.

Mannschaft step forward to welcome refugees
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger at a press conference earlier this week. Photo: DPA

Mannschaft step forward to welcome refugees

2 hours ago

Germany's World Cup-winning footballers have condemned xenophobic attacks on the thousands of foreigners pouring into their country and led calls to help the refugees amidst the ongoing crisis.

Islamist vigilantes face trial for 'Sharia police'
Islamic fundamentalist preacher Sven Lau. Photo: DPA

Islamist vigilantes face trial for 'Sharia police'

4 hours ago

State prosecutors in the Ruhr city of Wuppertal said on Tuesday that they have brought charges against notorious Islamic fundamentalist Sven Lau, who was behind a short-lived 'Sharia police' vigilante force in the city.

Are you a typical expat living in Germany?
Expats love German schools, but they're not so sure they receive a good welcome. Photo: DPA

Are you a typical expat living in Germany?

6 hours ago

A new survey is full of revealing facts about expats in Germany, why they came here, what they love and what they loathe. So how do you measure up?

Lufthansa pilots 'could strike at any moment'
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots 'could strike at any moment'

7 hours ago

Airline pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said on Wednesday that talks with Lufthansa had failed to reach an agreement and that their members could walk off the job at any moment.

Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees
Emergency services in Massow on Tuesday evening. Photo: DPA

Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees

8 hours ago

A man was arrested in Brandenburg on Tuesday evening after he attacked refugees with pepper spray while he was high on amphetamines. Eight of his victims were taken to hospital for treatment.

Ex-Chancellor Schmidt rushed to intensive care
Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was taken to hospital on Tuesday. Photo: DPA.

Ex-Chancellor Schmidt rushed to intensive care

10 hours ago

Helmut Schmidt, German Chancellor in the 1970s and early 1980s, has been taken into intensive care at a Hamburg hospital after suffering from a vascular obstruction in his right leg.

Smartwatches to shine at Berlin mega gadget fair
Photo: DPA

Smartwatches to shine at Berlin mega gadget fair

11 hours ago

Sleeker and sexier smartwatches are expected to premiere this week in Berlin at one of the world's biggest consumer electronics shows, with both phone manufacturers and watchmakers jostling for a share of the fast-growing market.

Poland to deploy army to hunt for Nazi gold train
An old mine shaft at Walbrzych in Poland. Photo: DPA

Poland to deploy army to hunt for Nazi gold train

11 hours ago

Poland said on Tuesday it would deploy the military to look for an alleged Nazi "gold train" that sparked global fascination after two anonymous treasure hunters claimed they had pinpointed where it is buried.

Munich woman bit sex attacker's tongue off
Photo: DPA

Munich woman bit sex attacker's tongue off

12 hours ago

A mother in Bavaria managed to bite off the tongue of a sex attacker who targeted her and her teenage daughter in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Features
How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
Sport
German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Travel
Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
National
Ten ways Germany puts Britain to shame
Business & Money
German gadget clamps down on Nutella thieves
Society
Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,008
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd