Computer glitch deletes German crime cases
A COMPUTER glitch at Germany's federal police headquarters deleted evidence on organised crime and terrorism cases in another embarrassing blow to the country's intelligence services.
The revelation of the software failure comes just days after the head of Germany's internal security service stepped down after his agency admitted shredding files on a high-profile right-wing terrorism case.
In the latest incident a technical problem prompted computers at the federal police headquarters (BKA) to erase evidence such as bugged telephone conversations, text messages, emails and faxes over two months covering the end of 2011 and the beginning of this year.
Instead of transferring the files to an online storage depository the software glitch meat that the files were deleted.
A spokesman for the federal police confirmed the data had gone but also sought to play down the affair, saying that much of the evidence had been recorded other files. But she also conceded that "in some investigations" evidence had been lost.
Legal experts also dismissed BKA claims that copies of the original information would have the same legal credibility as the originals.
"When original law enforcement data from surveillance operations is lost and there is no verbatim transcripts of conversations, and no emails and SMS messages then you have a problem," Alexander Ignor, a criminal law expert, told the Bild newspaper, adding that it could make it harder to secure prosecutions.
The scandal will further weaken the position of Jorg Ziercke, the head of the BKA. The senior policeman has been criticised for the police handling of an investigation into the activities of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground, a three-person terrorist cell that murdered nine men of immigrant background and a policewoman between 2000 and 2006.