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Germany intelligence running info for asylum program: Document

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Aerial view taken on May 8, 2015 shows radar domes on the premises of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND)’s post in southern Germany. ©AFP

A report says German intelligence agencies and police have been running an intelligence-for-asylum program in cooperation with US officials, under which hundreds of people have been granted asylum.

Over the past 15 years, almost 1000 migrants have been given asylum by Germany’s intelligence services and federal police, Russia’s RT cited a government document as saying.

According to the document, which was issued in response to a parliamentary request for data, Germany’s main intelligence agency, the BND, operated a so-called Main Questioning Facility (HBW), which was tasked with gathering intelligence from the migrants arriving in the country.

The government paper said most of those interrogated during the 15-year-long period were from the Middle East.

The inquiry sessions were also attended by US officers from the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA), according to the report.

Those migrants found suitable as a BND source would then be granted asylum, the document revealed.

A German policeman takes fingerprints of an asylum seeker on January 28, 2016 in Ellwangen. ©AFP

Along with intelligence services, federal police and customs services have also been running their own program of getting information from migrants.

The program remains in place, though its current extent reportedly covers far less cases a year.

However, Martina Renner, a lawmaker with the German Left Party, whose questions at the parliament led to the release of data by government, said it was “amazing to see the extent to which the state authorities have put refugees under pressure.”

“It is highly suspected that intelligence services, customs and police promise people seeking protection residence for working with them,” she said. “This means the quality of the information recovered is highly questionable.”

This is while the BND secret service is already embroiled in a scandal, which surfaced last year and revealed that it had helped the US National Security Agency (NSA) carry out “political espionage” on high-ranking French officials and the European Commission.

Some 1.1 million refugees were registered in Germany between January and December 2015. The country is expecting 2.5 million more to arrive over the next five years. The intake, the largest Europe-wide, which has been made possible by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy, has been strongly criticized across the country’s political spectrum as well as the continent. 

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