German files suggest Stasi got into N17

Official German documents – one written by an East German official in 1987, and the other in 1993, after the fall of the Berlin Wall – indicate that the East German secret police, the Stasi, had infiltrated Greece’s November 17 terrorist group in the 1980s. But, the documents said, the operation had been called off because it jeopardized the interests of the KGB, the Russian intelligence agency, including the need to protect a Greek businessman. The documents, published by Kathimerini yesterday, show that the organization, which had created an aura of infallibility in its 27 years of operations before its collapse last year, had been infiltrated by the Stasi in what the East Germans called «Operation Sun.» It was unclear why the Greek authorities had never received such information. The document of October 24, 1993 was from the Constitutional Protection Service and addressed to the country’s general prosecutor. It said: «Regarding your request for information from the testimony of an informant, a former collaborator of the MFS (State Security Ministry), on the issue of international terrorism centered in Greece: 1) The informant said that in the mid-1980s, on behalf of the MFS (Hauptabteilung XXII central service), he had the opportunity of infiltrating the Greek terrorist organization November 17, and while he was providing relevant reports, the HVA (East Germany’s supreme administration for state security) intervened. There was discussion in the office of the assistant minister for national security, Lt. General Niebuhr, during which (and at his intervention) the operation in Greece was suspended. As a reason, the HVA mentioned the operational interests of ‘our friends, which meant the Russian secret service, the KGB. 2) The informant revealed that, as he estimated at the time, ‘the friends’ (KGB) supported the November 17 organization actively. He had also heard that an important Greek businessman funded the organization and had to be protected.» The other document, dated 1987, was from a certain General Werner Prozetski of the HVA to a General Dr Franz. It said: «According to what Lt. Gen. Niebuhr referred to, I request that you immediately suspend Operation Sun and hand over to our service all files and minutes. The letter from ‘our friends’ referred to in the discussion with Lt. Gen. Niebuhr, in which they ask that their operational interests in Greece be taken into account, is in my office and you can be informed about it. So that the guarantees and benefits in the areas of security can be secured by the operations of the HVA and our friends in Greece, we request you act with unanimity and in a coordinated way.»