The new German Secret Service HQ’s, The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) was broken into by thieves who managed to bypass the security system.
The new headquarters in Berlin was to become fully operational and occupied by the end of the year. “Toilet Taps” were stolen from floors: 4 ,5 , and 6 of the largely empty 100,000sq meter complex. It is not clear why more taps were not taken.
“Tens of thousands of liters must have flooded the building,“ said Stephan Natz, a spokesman for the water Authorities. “An average of 1,300 liters per hour would have come out of each open tap.”
The flooded building was not noticed for some 12 hours. Thousands of liters of water pouring down inside the building, together with the appearance of Red faced officials explaining themselves, left the German Media in Stitches according to the report. A Police investigator told reporters: “As all the water pipes were under pressure, water has flooded the ceilings and walls and destroyed doors, electricity connections and security systems.” There is speculation that the vandalism was perpetrated by Berlin’s militant anti-gentrification protesters, who have been protesting recently against the influx of middle-class government officials in their community.
The Bundesnachrichtendienst is a modern facility with a visitors’ center inside the complex. It was only partially occupied at the time of the theft.
Officials at Berlin’s Federal Building Office, responsible for completion of the buildings, said it was too early too say whether the damage would delay BND plans to move almost 4,000 of its employees into the new complex from their current offices near Munich by the end of the year. The Berlin building neared completion last year, allowing the first of 170 BND staff to start working there.
The theft, dubbed, perhaps unsurprisingly, “Watergate”, by the German media caused widespread online mirth. But commentators asked how the thieves had managed to get past the scores of surveillance cameras surrounding the complex unnoticed, and why they had stolen mere taps.
Police said that they were not ruling out political motivation. The theft appeared designed to inflict maximum damage, police said, as all the taps were stolen from the upper floors of the complex, allowing water to pour through the whole building.
There was speculation that the aim was vandalism perpetrated by Berlin’s militant anti-gentrification protesters, who have been angered by the growing influx of middle-class government officials into their hitherto predominantly “alternative” bohemian Berlin.
Construction work on Berlin’s BND headquarters was started in 2006 but since then the costs of the project have almost doubled. More than 4,000 mistakes were reported in building plans. Draconian secrecy rules required every foreign labourer working on the complex to be accompanied by a BND chaperone – resulting in a €25m increase in security expenditure.
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