German spies offered to help Saddam
By David Harrison, The Telegraph Group Ltd, 21-04-2003
Baghdad - Germany's intelligence services attempted to build closer links to Saddam's secret service during the build-up to war last year, documents from the bombed Iraqi intelligence HQ in Baghdad obtained by The Sunday Telegraph reveal.
They show that an agent named as Johannes William Hoffner, described as a "new German representative in Iraq" who had entered the country under diplomatic cover, attended a meeting with Lt Gen Taher Jalil Haboosh, the director of Iraq's intelligence service.
During the meeting, on January 29, 2002, Lt Gen Haboosh says that the Iraqis are keen to have a relationship with Germany's intelligence agency "under diplomatic cover", adding that he hopes to develop that relationship through Hoffner.
The German replies: "My organisation wants to develop its relationship with your organisation." In return, the Iraqis offered to give lucrative contracts to German companies if the Berlin government helped prevent an American invasion of the country.
The revelations come a week after The Sunday Telegraph reported that Russia had spied for the Iraqis, passing them intelligence about a meeting between Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.
The meeting between the Iraqi and German agents took place six months before Chancellor Schroeder's government began its policy of direct opposition to the idea of a war against Iraq.
The apparently verbatim account of the meeting between Lt Gen Haboosh and Hoffner was among documents recovered in the rubble of the Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, which was heavily bombed.