Could the Constitutional Protection Service have known about the NSU at an early stage? A DVD with the label "NSU/NSDAP" has probably been in the agency’s possession since 2005.
Will have to find an explanation: top constitutional protector Hans-Georg Maaben. Picture: dpa
On Wednesday, suspicions grew that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) may have known about the NSU since 2005. In that year, the BfV received a DVD with right-wing extremist material, including a file with the title "NSU/NSDAP", via the confidential informant and right-wing extremist "Corelli". Only a few months ago, in February of this year, however, the Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution claims to have received such a DVD from an undercover agent and forwarded it.
According to the authorities, the file with the explosive title was received by the Hamburg secret service agent from "Corelli", but then simply forgotten about it. Until now, it was said that he only discovered them again when he was cleaning up. The case is extremely unpleasant for the BfV: "Corelli" alias Thomas R. was one of their top sources from 1994 to 2007. The office internally rated R., who moved in the NSU environment, with the highest rating level "B" – meaning: this source was considered reliable. The BfV alone is said to have paid him a total of 180,000 euros – the highest known fee for an undercover agent to date.
In a non-public session last week, the Interior Committee of the Bundestag had dealt with "Corelli", who was found lifeless in his apartment in Paderborn by officials on April 7. The Hamburg VS chief Thorsten Vob was questioned. An undetected diabetes disease is said to be the cause of death. Doubts exist – also in the interior committee. The case is to be taken up again at the next meeting.
From 2005 to 2009, the Hamburg undercover agent is said to have been in contact with "Corelli" several times and to have received five CDs from him. The Federal Prosecutor General’s Office is also said to have questioned the undercover agent. In the NSU trial before the Munich Higher Regional Court, joint plaintiffs already filed motions for evidence in April and July to summon him and include the events surrounding the DVD and "Corelli." "The current developments show how urgently this should be pursued," says NSU joint plaintiff Bjorn Elberling.
Lies or incompetence
The BfV lied twice about Corelli, says Martina Renner, a member of the Bundestag for the Left Party and a member of the Interior Committee: "On the one hand, the BfV has always claimed – throughout all the investigative committees – that there was never any indication of the existence of the NSU in the BfV before November 4, 2011. And on the other hand, the current BfV President Maaben claimed in the Interior Committee as recently as last week that he had only learned about the NSU/NSDAP CD in May 2014," says Martina Renner. Either Maaben lied to the Interior Committee or he is not in control of his office, says Renner.
Strong criticism also comes from the Green MP Hans-Christian Strobele: "If the reports are true, then all the assurances of the federal government that the German security authorities did not know and could not know anything about the existence of the NSU until the death of Bohnhardt and Mundlos on 4.11.2011, are false." Because not only "Corelli" apparently knew about the NSU for nine years, but he also informed his V-Mann leader. In addition, the handed over NSU DVD was finally evaluated by the BfV, Strobele said.
The BfV rejects the accusations. "As part of the file review for an ongoing investigation, a CD from 2005 was found at the BfV that contains the abbreviation ‘NSU/ NSDAP’," Stefan Mayer admits, however. The BfV press spokesman also says that the CD was handed over to the Federal Criminal Police Office. According to current knowledge, at least one file on this CD contained the abbreviation, as did the CD from Hamburg. From this abbreviation alone, the existence of a right-wing extremist terror trio could not be concluded at that time, Mayer says.