The Germans are right. --MW Swiss arrest German agent for spying on Scientologists Copyright 1998 Nando.net Copyright 1998 Agence France-Presse BERN (April 9, 1998 1:02 p.m. EDT http://www.nando.net) - A German intelligence agent was arrested in Switzerland for allegedly spying on the Church of Scientology, the Swiss federal prosecutor's office said Thursday. The agent is suspected of carrying out illegal activities for a foreign country, working for a political information service and falsifying identification documents. The man, whose identity was not revealed, was arrested Monday in Basel during a meeting with a Swiss woman who was apprehended and released after questioning, a statement said. A judge confirmed Tuesday the agent was being detained on the orders of the federal prosecutor Carla del Ponte. An investigation showed that the woman, who has not been named, had been in contact for several months with the intelligence services of the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Director of Intelligence Services in Baden-Wuerttemberg apologised to the Bern chief of police, following Monday's arrest. The director Helmut Rannacher said the agent had "clearly overstepped the limits of his responsibilities and had infringed on Swiss sovereignty." In a statement he added that it was unclear why the German agent, who was arrested with a Swiss woman, had not met the woman on German territory as initially planned. The German government claims the Church of Scientology is a profit-making body that extracts money from its members. Bonn has put the church under surveillance in Germany, a decision strongly criticized by the U.S. government. In Hamburg, police said the Church of Scientology has at its disposal a powerful secret service to serve its extremist and totalitarian ends. According to a report compiled by the Hamburg intelligence services and presented to the public by Hamburg Interior Minister Hartmuth Wrocklage on Thursday, the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs operates with weapons of "psychological warfare" and espionage and counter-espionage techniques. Its aim is to infiltrate governments, administrations and companies and systematically to slander and demoralise, the Social Democrat minister said. Responding to news of the arrest, Heber Jentzsch, president of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology International, said: "We are shocked that Germany would engage so brazenly in criminal acts against our church." "However, we are not completely surprised. Inside Germany secret service agents have been illegally harassing Scientologists for the entire last year, " he said in a statement. Jentzsch said he intended to urge Washington to demand that Germany disclose what espionage activities it conducts against Scientology in the United States. "In fact, we will do so in all of the more than 100 countries where Scientology churches and missions exist."
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