German prosecutors suspect that the Stasi succeeded in carrying out assassinations in the West, possibly including the Nov. 1989 assassination of Mr. Herrhausen, the chairman of one of Europe's most powerful companies, Deutsche Bank, while laying blame on other terror groups.
The Stasi sympathized with the anti-capitalist ideals of the Red Army Faction, but Stasi leaders were concerned about placing their trust in a group of uncontrollable leftist militants, a review of Stasi records shows. Stasi officials did not want to tarnish East Germany's international reputation, so they toyed with different concepts for cooperation with terrorist groups, according to a prosecutor who has investigated Stasi involvement with terrorism.
One suggestion, contained in a document prepared for new officers assigned to the unit, was to emulate Romanian intelligence, which successfully worked with the terrorist "Carlos" to bomb the Radio Free Europe office in Munich, Germany, in 1981. To assist in such operations, the [Stasi's] Wartin unit developed highly specialized explosives, poisons and miniature firearms.
About 1980 the Stasi also proposed a second strategy: instead of using a terrorist group directly -- such cooperation always contained risk of discovery -- they could simply execute attacks so similar to those of known terrorists that police would never look for a second set of suspects, according to Wartin records. The Wartin leadership called this strategy the "perpetrator principle," according to Stasi records. The unit's progress in implementing the steps to imitate terrorist attacks is described in a series of progress reports by Wartin officials between 1980 and 1987.
In September 1981, Red Army Faction terrorists attempted to kill U.S. Gen. James Kroesen in Heidelberg, Germany, shooting a bazooka at his car. About the same time, members of the same Red Army Faction team visited East Germany, where they were asked by the Stasi to shoot a bazooka at a car containing a dog. The dog died, according to court records.
In Wartin, officials wrote up a detailed description of the Red Army Faction members' re-enactment of the Kroesen attack. "It is important to collect all accessible information about the terrorist scene in imperialist countries, to study and analyze their equipment, methods and tactics, so we can do it ourselves," a senior Wartin official wrote in February 1982, according to the report.
It is fortunate for us that Al Qaeda terror operations, so far anyway, lack the sophistication of the Stasi.