An Iranian-born senior official of the German domestic intelligence agency has recently made a personal visit to Iran following the death of her father.
German-language news magazine Focus reported on Friday that Felor Badenberg, the vice president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) violated the strict security precautions of her own agency by making the private trip to the Islamic Republic, as many European countries as well as the United States are struggling to secure the release of their citizens held in Iran.
Badenberg, who was only promoted to the top of federal intelligence agency on June 22 by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, flew to the Iranian capital months ago to settle inheritance matters after the death of her father. She had been previously the head of the Right-Wing Extremism and Terrorism Department of the BfV since June 2020.
All BfV employees are strictly prohibited from traveling to or staying in countries such as Iran, Syria or Russia as they are at risk of arbitrary detention, mainly over espionage. The BfV president and the minister were apparently aware of her trip but they declined to answer if they approved Badenberg's flight to Tehran.
Security circles assume that the 46-year-old was under meticulous surveillance by the Iranian secret service after she landed in Iran, with a senior government official saying that Iranian counterintelligence has certainly recorded very precisely who she met and where, meaning that Badenberg's contacts and family in Tehran are now in peril. The risk of possible blackmail is too high, the report suggested.