European Union flags.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN - Germany’s most famous spy is slated to oversee the coordination of European intelligence agencies. A source at Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) on Friday confirmed to The Jerusalem Post the appointment of Germany’s top spy Gerhard Konrad to the EU post.
Konrad oversaw the foreign intelligence section of the BND and has worked since 1990 for the agency. He jump-started the Gilad Schalit mediation process in 2009. He is said to use multiple aliases and speak a number of languages, including accent-free Arabic. The German government has long been tight-lipped about his activities in the region. Konrad currently works for the Germany embassy in London.
The 61-year-old Konrad will oversee the EU Intelligence Analysis and Situation Center (EU INTCEN) in Brussel. INTCEN has a staff of 70 agents.
The EU’s policy chief Federica Mogherini appointed Konrad to the coordinator position. The EU does not have its own intelligence agency. The fragmented nature of Europe’s intelligence system is believed to have played a role in not detecting terrorist attacks on the continent.
Konrad earned the moniker “Mr. Hezbollah” within German intelligence circles because of his talks to secure prisoner swaps with the Lebanese-based terrorist group. Some accused Konrad of shedding his mediator’s neutrality in 2008 when he sealed a deal gaining the release of the bodies of two IDF reservists, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, for the freedom of five terrorists, including the child-murderer Samir Kuntar.
The Schalit process was a controversial process for Konrad. Fox News reported in late 2009 that an Israeli source close to the Netanyahu government and the Schalit talks said that Konrad “seems to be more favorable to Hamas, possibly because of Germany’s economic ties with Iran, known to be Hamas’s financial and ideological backer.”
Some critics of Konrad in Germany even coined the phrase “Mr. Hamas” to describe his pro-Hamas tendencies.
Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, however, sharply criticized Konrad at the time for siding with Israeli positions. Marzouk said Konrad had “endorsed the unfair and unjust positions of the Zionist government.”
Berlin previously awarded Konrad the Federal Cross of Merit for his efforts in the Middle East. He is a great source of pride in the German media and among German politicians.