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President’s Office Secretary Admits Spy Charges, Prosecutor Says

September 4, 1985

BONN, West Germany (AP) _ A secretary in President Richard von Weizsaecker’s office has admitted she was a spy and said an East German agent gave her money, a prosecutor’s spokesman said today.

Margarete Hoeke was arrested in Bonn on Aug. 24 on suspicion of spying for East Germany. Earlier in August, a top counter-spy defected to East Germany and the government said three people who vanished may have also been spies for East Germany.

Alexander Prechtel, a spokesman for the chief federal prosecutor, said Ms. Hoeke’s admissions came during questioning by police.

Prechtel said Ms. Hoeke told police she went to Copenhagen early last month and received 4,100 West German marks ($1,470) from a man identified by West German officials as an East German agent.

″She has made statements about her work as a spy,″ Prechtel told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. ″But whether she’s telling us everything, we still don’t know yet.″

Ms. Hoeke, 49, had access to secret government cables, and her division planned the president’s trips abroad and the Bonn visits of foreign leaders.

The West German presidency is largely a ceremonial post, but Weizsaecker is kept informed of sensitive government information.

Prechtel also confirmed that Reinhard Liebetanz, a high-ranking security official, was still under investigation. Liebetanz was arrested last week in connection with the espionage scandal, then released.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Tuesday firmly rejected demands for the ouster of his interior minister, despite opposition claims the spy scandal has been bungled from the start.

During debate in Parliament, Kohl defended Interior Minister Friedrich Zimmermann’s actions concerning the Aug. 19 defection of counter-spy Hans- Joachim Tiedge to East Germany.

West Germany’s spy chief, Heribert Hellenbroich, was fired last week for keeping Tiedge in his sensitive post despite knowing of the counter-spy’s financial and drinking problems.

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