Next round in the undercover drama: covert liaisons

Hamburg police admit the fundamental illegality of the use of undercover investigator Maria B. – in order to prevent an investigation.

Popular meeting place for leftists and informers: Rote Flora in Hamburg. Photo: Christian Charisius/dpa

The full body deployment of the undercover investigator (VE) Maria B. under the cover name "Maria Block" remains – for now – further a secret commando matter. The Administrative Court of Hamburg rejected the complaint of a Berlin activist against the police. He wanted to have it established that Maria B.’s sexual relationship with him as an alleged target during her undercover operation was illegal.

This was because the Hamburg police admitted that the entire spying operation of the State Security Service of the State Office of Criminal Investigation in the left-wing scene from 2008 to 2012 had been unconstitutional. As a result, there would be no legal way to clarify individual components of their deployment and their sexual relationships, the presiding judge argued.

Thus, the police do not have to disclose their files. According to this method, the police had already prevented the judicial clarification in a parallel case.

No one wants to have known about sex

The policewoman Maria B. was active from July 2008 to 2012 under the cover name "Maria Block" as an undercover investigator for danger prevention for the State Protection Department of the State Criminal Police Office in the left-wing scene.

Undercover investigators are not allowed to enter private residences. The situation is different for law enforcement missions such as that of Iris P. alias Iris Schneider for the Attorney General.

Undercover operations to avert danger require, according to recent case law of the Federal Constitutional Court, a "concrete foreseeable event" and must be approved by a judge.

"To induce someone to have sexual intercourse under false pretenses is the last thing," grumbles the person concerned. "That the police use these methods to spy on people is shocking. That they then also obstruct the clarification of the circumstances by refusing to allow access to the files is a scandal." He plans to appeal.

Indeed, questions are arising: The police have repeatedly affirmed in the Interior Committee of the Burgerschaft and now also in court that they knew nothing about sexual activities of their deployed spies towards target persons – as previously with the undercover investigator Iris P. alias "Iris Schneider" in the queer-feminist scene. If this had become known to the superior "VE leaders," the undercover operations would have been stopped immediately, according to the police’s admission.

"I don’t think that’s credible," the Berlin plaintiff’s lawyer Lukas Theune told the taz. Because the now 34-year-old Maria B. – who had sexual relations with at least two of her targets – had been "very closely guided" by her VE leaders. Even during her missions abroad on the Greek island of Lesbos, in Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen, where she observed Hamburg activists, a troop of VE leaders always traveled with her.

Incompatible with the rule of law

According to the lawyer, the court did not even rule out the possibility that the VE leaders had known about Maria B.’s sex affairs, approved of them or even ordered them. But not even the court would expect that the VE-leaders had been so stupid as to document this in the files.

However, attorney Theune does not want to let this reproach stand unchecked. "We will apply to the Higher Administrative Court for permission to appeal," he said. "The fact that undercover investigators of the Hamburg police go as far as having sexual intercourse with their targets in order to fulfill their investigative mission is absolutely incompatible with the principles of the rule of law."

Theune is not without hope. In 2012, the Administrative Court also did not dare to examine the principle of the evaluation of the controls in the "danger areas," since the manner of the search had already been unlawful. Only the Higher Administrative Court declared the danger areas unconstitutional in 2015 in the second instance.