Merkel orders inquiry into security breach

There may be high fences and security cameras around the building site in Berlin, but that wasn't enough to prevent the blueprints for one of the city's biggest construction projects from going missing.

The site is that of a new headquarters for Germany's intelligence service, making the loss all the more embarrassing.

The spy agency is facing difficult questions after it emerged that it could not even keep the plans for its new hi-tech offices from going astray. According to a report in Focus magazine, the blueprints contained sensitive information relating to the security of the Berlin headquarters.

The blueprints showed highly sensitive areas of the headquarters, including anti-terror installations, emergency exits and alarm systems.

The data, most likely stored on a USB stick, was stolen a year ago, public broadcaster ARD reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed government official. The core of the building may now have to be redesigned, the TV station reported. The security leak is a huge embarrassment to the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency.

It is based in Pullach, a Bavarian village near Munich, but the government decided to move the agency to the capital following the 9/11 terror attacks.

The cost of the project had been estimated at €500 million but had risen to around €1.5 billion. The headquarters is expected to be completed by 2014 and will house about 4,000 agency staff. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2011

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