Parliamentary control body
The parliamentary control body ( PKGr ) is a body of the German Bundestag to control the intelligence services of the federal government . It controls the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), the Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). According to the Control Committee Act, the Federal Government is obliged to inform the PKGr comprehensively about the general activities of the federal intelligence services and about events of particular importance.
Function and tasks
At the beginning of each electoral term, the German Bundestag elects the members of the parliamentary control body from among its members (PKGrG). It determines the number of members, the composition and the working methods of the parliamentary control body ( PKGrG). The parliamentary supervisory body meets at least once every quarter. It elects a chairperson and his or her deputy. There are rules of procedure ( PKGrG). Each member can request that the parliamentary control body be convened and informed ( ) PKGrG).
Insofar as the PKGr's right to control extends, it can request the Federal Government and the federal intelligence services to surrender files or other documents in official custody, if necessary also in the original, and to transmit data stored in files. He must be granted access to all federal intelligence services at all times (PKGrG). It can question members of the intelligence services, employees and members of the federal government as well as employees of other federal authorities after informing the federal government or obtain written information from them. The people to be heard are obliged to provide complete and truthful information ( ) PKGrG).
Insofar as this is necessary for imperative reasons of access to messages or for reasons of protecting the personal rights of third parties or if the core area of executive personal responsibility is affected, the Federal Government can inform the PKGr about general activities and processes of particular importance as well as the surrender of files and transmission of files , as well as forbid employees of the federal intelligence services to provide information. Both are to be justified by the federal government to the PKGr ( PKGrG).
The PKGr members regularly receive an insight into the work of the federal intelligence services through the federal government . Since their work should naturally remain secret, the members of the PKGr are obliged to maintain secrecy - also vis-à-vis the other members of the Bundestag ( PKGrG). Because the parliamentary right to ask questions also extends to the field of the intelligence services, the Federal Government and the PKGr are obliged to provide information on urgent matters. The justification of the federal government that intelligence issues should only be discussed in the PKGr and not published is inadmissible according to judgment 2 BvE 5/06 of the Federal Constitutional Court , since the parliamentary right to ask questions also extends to the intelligence services of the federal government. Three copies of the minutes are made of the meetings of the PKGr.
Employees of the federal intelligence services are permitted to contact the parliamentary control body directly in official matters as well as in internal service grievances without having to comply with official channels (as is possible in the case of soldiers with the military commissioner ). Due to the fact of the submission, they may not be disciplined or disadvantaged in the office. Citizens' submissions to the German Bundestag about behavior by the federal intelligence services that affect them can be sent to the parliamentary control body for information ( PKGrG).
Parliamentary shop stewards committee (PVMG)
The forerunner of the parliamentary control body was the parliamentary shop stewards committee (PVMG). It was installed in 1956 by the then Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and met only three times between 1956 and 1960. After the last meeting in 1958, the committee met on September 4, 1963 on the occasion of the conviction of the BND employee and KGB spy Heinz Felfe on July 23. Reinhard Gehlen , then President of the BND, and his closest colleagues reported on the case, the staff and the safety standards.
The last meeting of the PVMG took place in mid-1976. When it was founded, the PVMG was solely responsible for controlling the BND. In 1965 responsibility was also extended to the BfV and the MAD.
Parliamentary Control Commission (PKK)
In 1978, after a two-year break, the PVMG was replaced by the Parliamentary Control Commission (PKK). In contrast to the PVMG, the PKK was given a legal basis, the law on parliamentary control of federal intelligence activities .
Parliamentary Control Body (PKGr)
1999 was the Parliamentary Control Commission - partly because of the acronym PKK, which the general public rather with the Kurdistan Workers' Party combines - in parliamentary control committee renamed. Since 2009, the PKGr has also been constitutionally anchored in GG - the only article of the Basic Law with an official title. The law was also revised on July 29, 2009.
The PKGr sparked special discussions when parties that other parties considered unreliable or extremist claimed a place in it. This was the case with the Greens in the 1980s and 1990s, with the PDS since 1990 , and with the AfD in 2018.
The non-party, Wolfgang Nešković , who has been a member of the PKGr for Die Linke since 2005 , was initially not confirmed by the Bundestag in December 2009, which was a one-off event until then. In a second vote on January 20, 2010, Nešković was re-elected to the PCGr by roll call with 320 votes in favor, 226 against and 35 abstentions. After leaving his parliamentary group, he left the PKGr in December 2012, and was succeeded by Steffen Bockhahn .
The Berlin Chief Public Prosecutor Roman Reusch , proposed by the AfD, initially missed the necessary 355 votes in the first ballot on January 18, 2018, after politicians from the other parties had expressed concerns about Reusch. In the second ballot, Reusch was finally elected to the PKGr.
In 2013, as a result of the NSA scandal , in which, among other things, revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that German intelligence services were also involved in prohibited surveillance measures , Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel initiated a reform of the Supervision Committee Act , which on July 1, 2014 over several measures to intensify control of the intelligence services were reported: a. a permanent authorized representative ("secret service officer of the Bundestag") set up to support the PKGr.
|Konstantin von Notz||
B90 / greens
The parliamentary control body of the 19th German Bundestag consists of nine members and was set up on January 18, 2018. The CDU / CSU parliamentary group sends three members, the SPD parliamentary group two, as well as the AfD parliamentary group , the FDP parliamentary group , the Bundestag parliamentary group Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and the left-wing parliamentary group each have one member. The CDU / CSU parliamentary group has the chairmanship. Burkhard Lischka's membership ended with his resignation on October 14, 2019. On November 7, 2019, Eva Högl was elected as his successor at the suggestion of the SPD parliamentary group . Högl was elected Defense Commissioner of the German Bundestag on May 7, 2020 and thus no longer a member of parliament. Her SPD colleague Thomas Hitschler was elected as her successor in the parliamentary control body .
The PKGr may temporarily include members who are no longer members of the Bundestag: In order to ensure uninterrupted control of the federal intelligence services, the Parliamentary Control Committee continues its activities beyond the end of an electoral term of the German Bundestag until the next German Bundestag has decided on a new composition ( surveillance and espionage affair in 2013 and indications of eavesdropping by the United States of America on Chancellor Angela Merkel, the FDP members of the 17th German Bundestag , who were responsible for the 18th German Bundestag had not been re-elected, took part in a special meeting of the Control Committee during the legislative period of the 18th German Bundestag.) PKGrG). Such a situation was e.g. B. on October 24, 2013, when in connection with the
18th legislative term
The nine members of the body in the 18th electoral term of the German Bundestag (2013-2017) were: Clemens Binninger ( CDU ) as chairman, André Hahn ( left ) as deputy chairman and Manfred Grund (CDU), Stephan Mayer ( CSU ), Armin Schuster (CDU), Gabriele Fograscher ( SPD ), Uli Grötsch (SPD), Burkhard Lischka (SPD) and Hans-Christian Ströbele ( Greens ) as full members.
17th legislative term
Members of the 11-member body in the 17th electoral period of the German Bundestag (2009-2013) were: Thomas Oppermann (SPD) as chairman, Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU) as deputy chairman and Clemens Binninger (CDU), Manfred Grund (CDU ), Hans-Peter Uhl (CSU), Michael Hartmann (SPD), Fritz Rudolf Körper (SPD), Gisela Piltz (FDP), Hartfrid Wolff (FDP), Steffen Bockhahn (left) and Hans-Christian Ströbele (green).
16th legislative term
In the 16th electoral term of the German Bundestag (2005–2009) the body had nine members. These were: Max Stadler (FDP) as chairman, Norbert Röttgen (CDU) as deputy chairman and Bernd Schmidbauer (CDU), Hans-Peter Uhl (CSU), Fritz Rudolf Körper (SPD), Thomas Oppermann (SPD), Joachim Stünker ( SPD), Wolfgang Nešković (left) and Hans-Christian Ströbele (green).
The PKGr is sometimes described as "toothless", meaning without any real power. In the past, for example, intelligence services could sometimes only be visited with advance notice, and members of the PKGr reported that intelligence service employees allegedly told them the untruth several times.
The Control Committee Act does not provide for any sanctions in the event of non-compliance with the information obligations by the responsible intelligence service employees and the preventive control of intelligence services. However, restriction measures according to Article 10 Act must be approved in advance by the G 10 Commission . The PKGr cannot bring illegal actions to a criminal complaint itself or order the publication of relevant confidential documents, but it can call on the federal government to put an end to grievances.
In addition, there is a demand that the PKGr be given the rights of a committee of inquiry in order to be able to investigate breaches of law effectively (currently no evidence can be gathered or witnesses summoned). However, the German Bundestag has the right to set up investigative committees to investigate possible misconduct in the area of federal intelligence services, which can collect evidence and summon witnesses ( Basic Law). The Bundestag has already made numerous use of this right (see also: List of investigative committees of the German Bundestag ), for example the NSU investigative committees , the NSA investigative committee , in the Murat Kurnaz case or in the so-called plutonium affair . The Defense Committee can declare itself to be a committee of inquiry in order to investigate events in the MAD ( ) of the Basic Law).
Organizations such as netzpolitik.org also criticize the fact that the PKGr is almost completely withheld from data on cooperation with foreign intelligence services. It is also critically noted that the PKGr controls the federal intelligence services, but not other security authorities, some of which also use quasi-intelligence services, such as the Federal Police , the Federal Criminal Police Office or the Federal Customs Administration . In particular, with ever more extensive powers with regard to online searches and source telecommunications monitoring by law enforcement authorities, the question arises of who is actually monitoring these measures, especially since the technology used is presumably the same (see also Federal Trojan ). In any case, the responsible interior committee of the German Bundestag currently does not receive any such information due to the federal government's interests in secrecy.
Information from secret meetings of the PKGr is repeatedly pierced into the mass media and thus penetrates the public, including from the report on the BND journalist scandal . This could lead to the Federal Government exercising its right to refuse to be informed ( ) PKGrG). Thus the behavior of individual PKGr members would run counter to the control purpose of the parliamentary body. In the so-called journalist scandal at the time, the PKGr asked the President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert to initiate legal steps because of the suspected violation of official secrets ( StGB ) through the illegal disclosure of information.
Comparable bodies of the federal states
In the federal states there are similar committees of the state parliaments for the control of the respective state authority for the protection of the constitution, for example in Bavaria the parliamentary control body for the monitoring of the activities of the Bavarian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (7 members). In North Rhine-Westphalia the Parliamentary Control Panel (PKG) of the land day in §§ 23-30 of the state constitution Protection Act regulated.
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