• 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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.”

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd