The state ARD television station's Fakt reported on Monday night that it had seen training programmes which had last year alone, included at least three training courses for secret service officers.
The ministry said this was nothing more than an error in translation. The interpreter had wrongly described the activities of the SDA border police as intelligence work, the ministry said. Staff of the federal police working at the project office in the Saudi capital Riad said the people concerned were members of the investigation section of the border police.
“A unit like this is to be found within the structure of the investigation service in every federal police division or in the structure of the federal police division fighting crime,” said the ministry spokesman.
Such a unit was a considerable element of any modern border patrol operation within the European Union, and training them in Saudi Arabia conformed with the aims of the cooperation project.
Green opposition politicians said they were outraged, with their security matters spokesman Wolfgang Wieland telling the programme what he called a pointless police training project should be ended.