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New headquarters of Germany's foreign intelligence service set up in Berlin

(Xinhua)    14:03, February 10, 2019

BERLIN, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel inaugurated the new headquarters of BND, the foreign intelligence agency of Germany, in Berlin on Friday, 11 years after the constructions started.

At the official opening of the new BND headquarters, Merkel said "that Germany needs a strong and efficient foreign intelligence service more urgently than ever".

In the past, Germany's intelligence service was scattered across many locations in Germany and its old main hub in the Bavarian town of Pullach.

Now, around 4,000 of the 6,500 employees of the BND are working from the heart of the German capital. The BND's data processing center, technical surveillance as well training facilities will remain in Pullach near Munich.

However, the deployment was criticized by former BND president Gerhard Schindler, who told rbb-Inforadio on Friday that it was a "flaw that the technical surveillance remained in Pullach".

According to Schindler, it would "complicate the supervision of the service" and the cooperation with the headquarters. "There is no reasonable, logical reason for this division of the BND."

Andre Hahn, vice-president of the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, also criticized the decision that the department of technical surveillance was not moved to Berlin, saying it would elude direct access by the secret service control in the German capital.

Construction of the BND new headquarters cost about 1.1 billion euros (1.25 billion U.S. dollars), well above the 720 million euros that were originally planned.

"Well-equipped authorities are absolutely essential, especially when it comes to cyber security," Merkel emphasized, adding that IT security would be an increasingly important task for the future.

Green party politician Konstantin von Notz saw great opportunity in the BND's move to the capital. Notz told the Funke Media Group on Friday "The bond to parliamentary control, confirmability and proportionality of one's own work and the anchoring of the rule of law in the heart of our democracy must become the unalterable self-image of Germany's largest intelligence service".

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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