When South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-moon became UN secretary-general on January 1, 2007 he made a point that a cornerstone of his administration would be to bring a new level of "transparency" to the operations of a world body tarnished by numerous scandals.
While Ban has received high marks for opening up his own personal activities to public scrutiny, his benchmarks have met substantial resistance throughout the world body's massive bureaucracy.
One key official who has gone to "unusual" lengths to shield himself from Ban's examples is his current chief of security at the NYC headquarters, Bruno Henn.
Henn, a German national, succeeded a former NYPD official, Michael McCann who left the U.N. under a cloud of accusations in June 2004.
At first, Henn was only given the promotion on a temporary basis, but was officially named to the post in July 2005. The U.N. has never explained why the formal promotion took more than a year.
Unlike his five predecessors, virtually nothing is known about Henn before he arrived at the United Nations in 1999. The U.N. will only say that the security chief worked for the "German Police Service" for 14 years, but has refused to disclose any details. Research on Henn's tenure in Germany has revealed nothing of substance. Even his birthplace remains a "state" secret.
Not only has the "chief" remained a mystery among the more than 9,000 U.N. staff he is supposed to protect, most diplomats do not even know who he is. One senior member of Ban's staff when queried about Henn, replied: "Who is he? I never heard of him?" The same sentiment is also echoed from many inside the diplomatic corps.
A veteran U.S. official familiar with the U.N.'s security operations who asked for anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the subject, told NewsMax: "Of course we are concerned about the lack of (Henn's) transparency and growing inaccessibility."
Other administration officials lament that the U.N. has been "less than forthcoming" on numerous security issues since Henn assumed office. Senior members of the U.N.'s security staff who in past years would have countless daily meetings with their chief, now complain they rarely see the current one.
"I only see him when he comes to work and when he leaves. Other than that he remains behind a closed door all day," one veteran U.N. security official confessed.
The lack of access by senior U.N. security officials has led numerous officers to question just who is in charge.
In 2007, when two incidents involving traces of possible WMD were thought to have been found at U.N. headquarters and at a nearby office building, Henn was missing-in-action. In both instances, the lack of coordination led the NYPD on wild goose chases in front of staff and media to track down the potential problems.
There was no coordination and no supervision, confessed U.N. officials. Both turned out to be false alarms, but took days to resolve, yet, in both instances, Henn was in Manhattan, NewsMax has been told.
The "chief" has earned the nickname "invisible man" by many inside the U.N.'s security department.
Of equal importance are two incidents with anti-Semitic overtones that have taken place during Henn's watch.
In February 2006, local NYC media reported that Nazi swastikas were found drawn throughout a security log book at one of the main checkpoints leading into the U.N. compound.
That occurred together with incidents of several U.N. security officers jokingly enacting "Hitler salutes," all supposedly to mock an Israeli officer serving at the United Nations.
In published reports, it was stated that Henn tried to block an investigation into the incidents. That brought cries of foul from Israel's deputy U.N. ambassador Danny Carmon and eventually drew the under secretary-general for management, Christopher Burnham (a former U.S. State Dept. official) into the fray to resolve the issue.
The mystery defacer, though supposedly uncovered, was never publicly identified, nor was his punishment, if any, ever disclosed. Henn remained silent.
Then in March 2008, it was charged that a Jewish woman (also an Israeli national) was removed from Ban's personal security detail before a recent trip to the African nation of Senegal. The reason offered was that a Jewish Israeli female might offend Senegal, which is an Islamic state.
While the removal was confirmed by the U.N., it was added that the female officer "made the request herself." Israeli diplomats tell NewsMax that the officer "did not want to make waves."
Others inside UN Security tell NewsMax "she feared retaliation."
Henn has ignored repeated requests for interviews.
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