This page contains information from an article from the Frankfurt media concerning the false incrimination of a Berlin police director as a Scientologist.
Mishaps and failure prevail
After a series of embarrassing mistakes the Berlin state office for the protection of the Constitution will no longer exist as an indepent agency. page 6
April 25, 2000
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
An article on the Berlin State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz) by Konrad Schuller reported more or less to the following effect that:
The Berlin Verfassungsschutz has a nice building in Gunewald behind whose portals is hatched the silent drama of secret government life. Coffee brews in the lobby, with the condensed milk next to the sugar. Signs of circumspection abound, and it was not until recently that the building even had a sign. The Verfassungsschutz played the same sort of game as the CIA, KGB and the Stasi. Hiding one's own hand was always top priority, and those who passed through these doors practiced discretion out of necessity. No one may move about on their own, and even today visitors are watched as they go to use the restroom. This circumspection, however, has not always been effective.
In 1991 the West Berlin Verfassungsschutz learned the hard way that, for a long time, the East Berlin Ministry of State Security (MfS) had known everything about them that was worth knowing. In the MfS archives that had been newly opened after the fall of the Berlin wall were found album upon album of pictures of almost every one of West Berlin's agents. Telephones in Grunewald had been tapped and the text of conversations, even top secret ones, were present and accounted for in the MfS vaults.
Mr. Schuller reported that Berlin Interior Senator Werthebach of the CDU party now wanted to bring the Verfassungsschutz' existence as an independent agency to an end due to a number of mishaps and failures of which three cases were known, all involving former MfS (Stasi) agents. Mr. Schuller characterized the onset of problem with an improperly submissive respect for the enemy, i.e., that the Stasi were secretly regarded as a "very good intelligence agency." To this day the full extent of their work remains unknown to the West.
In addition to this, there was a profit to be made after the fall of the Berlin wall in which the West Germans were at a disadvantage, due an 11th hour promise not to send their intelligence agents into a newly liberated East Germany. As a result, the agents at Grunewald had to sit on their hands as the East Germans sold secrets at premium prices to the Americans, to the media, and God knows who else. Not only that, but many former MfS agents had already been "re-enlisted" by the American CIA. Once Germany was finally unified, not many were left for the Germans, and some of those had been "unofficial staff" of the MfS.
These were used for observation of continuing Stasi structures, and after those fell apart the field of operations changed to include a new instiller of fear, the Scientology Organization, about which it was said operated their own private intelligence service, the "Office of Special Affairs" (OSA).
At first the MfS remnants were able to chalk up several successes. An undercover agent named "Foerster", for example, gathered information on the PDS. He reported handed over very good information until his cover was blown with an indiscretion that was hard to explain, and the result made headline. Former MfS captain Schachtschneider was alledged to have undertaken measures to destroy the East Berlin "Environmental Library." In the event the East Germans were to march into the West, a contingency plan provided for him being the district commandant in Wilmersdorf.
Use of Stasi against "Scientology" turned out just as horrendous when, as Mr. Schuller reported, the Berlin Verfassungsschutz seized the opportunity offered by a rumor that Scientology's OSA was recruiting former experts from the East. To this end they were said to have reactivated in 1997 former MfS officer Schwanitz, stepson of the last Stasi boss, and retiree Adolf Peter, former "unofficial staff" of the Stasi's HVA espionage department.
Peter was reported to be an eccentric fellow in his upper seventies who wanted to do for the Verfassungsschutz what he had previously done for Stasi. For the purpose of observing Scientology he was given the code-name "Junior". In 1998, he was involved in what at first appeared to be a coup for Berlin's secret agents. An anonymous letter made the accusation that a Berlin police director, Otto D., was a Scientologist. Junior was asked about this and he seemed to think he had actually seen the police office with the sect. The Verfassungsschutz then verified in writing tha the policeman was a member of Scientology. For a few brief moments, Mr. Schuller reported, the Berlin Verfassungsschutz honored for its apparently efficient work, and Otto D. had to leave his post. The press then made an issue out of Junior's identity, and the identification of Otto D. as a Scientologist was disputed. Otto D. had to be reinstated to his position, and the Verfassungsschutz was disgraced.
For some people this episode was reminiscent of the Stasi, and even Interior Senator Werthebach once stated that he was reminded of the concoction that used to be the former enemy's standard brew of good information, libel and false witnesses. Nevertheless, he could not made a connection, and blame for the failure was not due to the insidiousness of a clever opponent, but to one's own weakness. The wrong people had been recruited, and they were guided wrongly.
Critics of the Verfassungsschutz, such as the faction leader of the Berlin Greens, Mrs. Kuenast, says she thinks the agency overextended itself in looking for new opponents from who Germany could be defended after the end of the Cold War. Her analogy was that the Verfassungsschutz needed new heads to mount on the agency wall, and it was in this regard that Scientology was considered. They allegedly used whomever they could to beat the brush and demanded quick results when the anonymous letter of denunciation showed itself. It was reported that the contact with Peter was made in such a way that he did not have to name a name, but to only say "yes," and that would be the end of the story for Otto D.
The Verfassungsschutz said their was enough evidence to get a warrant to search Otto D's premises, apparently hoping incriminating evidence would thus be found. They got the warrant, but nothing of consequence was found and their hopes were shattered.
To this day, nobody knows how it is that hordes of journalists suddenly knew to ask about Peter and Schactschneider. To this day, nobody in the Verfassungsschutz knows who the "traitor" was in their midst. But one thing they do know. In the last days of East Germany's German Democratic Republic, the Stasi systematically unmasked their own "unofficial staff" they had inserted in among the civil rights activists, for the purpose of depopularizing the opposition. Mr. Schuller brings up the question of whether that could have been the case with Otto D., but discounts a positive answer, as other alternatives seem more likely. The whistleblower could have been a disgruntled employee. Scientology could have caught on to Junior and forwarded information to Otto D's attorney. Schachtscneider's cover could have been blown when the Verfassungsschutz terminated all former Stasi in 1998, and people suddenly noticed he was no longer around. In any case his handler observed that his former comrades noticed his absence. There was no need to explain things with a Stasi conspiracy.
All that remains from the Stasi is a field of rubble. The office for the protection of the constitution has been reorganized, the basis of its work having been shattered. Without secrecy its importance to other agencies is destroyed.
The article ends by saying that undercover operators whose lives often depend on the discretion of their own agency are apprehensive, while the Scientology Organization and its OSA secret service remain nothing but elusive spectres. "Today we believe that OSA was only a story," said one of them from behind a tree in the Grunewald park, "We have no proof that it exists in Germany."