19:04 GMT +323 April 2019
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    Guests walk past a logo of Germany's intelligence agency the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND - Federal Intelligence Service) during a ground breaking ceremony for the new national headquarters of the BND in Berlin's Mitte district

    German Gov't Confirms Intelligence Chief's Retirement

    © AFP 2019 / JOHN MACDOUGALL
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    The German government confirmed on Wednesday that the head of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) would leave his post before his term had expired.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — Earlier this week, German media outlets reported that Schindler could "surprisingly" leave his post due to a decision by the Chancellor's office.

    "There will be a change in the leadership of the Federal Intelligence Service, taking effect on July 1, 2016 — former President Gerhard Schindler would be placed in temporary retirement, " Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief-of-staff Peter Altmaier said in a statement.

    The official underscored that the BND would be faced by major challenges of various kinds in the years to come, and therefore certain changes are required.

    Schindler's successor will be Bruno Kahl, a Finance Ministry official responsible for government real estate and an ally of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble.

    Schindler has headed the BND since 2012, and was not due to retire until 2018.

    Last April, an espionage scandal gripped Germany as local media uncovered that the BND had provided technical assistance to the US National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on European targets, including top political figures and corporations. The BND is believed to have spied on some 800,000 IP addresses, phone numbers and email addresses at the request of US intelligence.

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    retirement, German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Gerhard Schindler, Peter Altmaier, Germany
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