Analysis: United States and Germany spy on each other

BND seal

BND seal

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Newly released documents reveal that the Central Intelligence Agency has maintained an active program of espionage against Germany in the post-Cold War era, and experts say that Germany reciprocates the ‘favor’. According to an article in the latest issue of German newsmagazine Focus, the US intelligence community, led by the CIA, has been keeping tabs on Germany’s intelligence agencies since the 1950s, and continues to do so today. The magazine’s editors say they are in possession of internal government documents, which describe constant CIA monitoring on the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s main external intelligence agency. The CIA’s spying extends to Germany’s counterintelligence agency, known as the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz). CIA operations against the Office have reportedly included the interception of telephone calls, some of which involved high-level conversations between German and British or French intelligence officials. Focus claims that CIA spying against the BND actually intensified following German reunification in 1990, as the American agency kept tabs on German intelligence officers with former Nazi or communist past. According to one report, the CIA was able to verify that at least two BND officers with service in the Nazi SS had joined a NATO sabotage unit. The magazine spoke to an unnamed former BND counterintelligence officer, who said he was not in the least surprised by the revelations. Commenting yesterday on the Focus report, Washington-based reporter Jeff Stein argued that a little friendly spying is to be expected among allied intelligence services. The veteran intelligence correspondent spoke to an unnamed former CIA officer, who told him that the espionage between Washington and Berlin has not been “a one-way street” —the BND also spies on the CIA and other American intelligence agencies. Stein notes that Germany “has always fielded a robust team of agents to keep track of American, as well as other foreign spies running around in their backyard”. Moreover, he says, while American and German agencies tend to cooperate on some levels, they still tend to keep “secrets from each other”. Why, then, have no German spies been arrested by the FBI and deported from the United States, or vice-versa? Because, he says, “among friends, some things are best handled discreetly”.

5 Responses to Analysis: United States and Germany spy on each other

  1. Big Al New York State says:

    This is a good article but cut the discretion part at the end…this is not a dinner party where friends don’t notice each others farts. In the end, in a world of extraordinary rendition and mass-killings in the name of God, discretion is useless when lives are at stake and the difference between BND tactics and those of other intelligence agencies is that intensive interrogation techniques aren’t used. Backstabbing never became more literal than in espionage…

  2. Kidd says:

    from my homies in bad aibling , while during the cold war, was a place for spying on the east, and probably western counterparts too, then suddenly the cold war is over and b/a is about to close down from lac o bidness, but found another use for the gear, industrial espionage. don’t know what’s going on there now, if anything.

  3. Anonymous says:

    its always been the norm going back to the dawn of time… you spy not just because you dont trust each other but because you cant trust your own and what might seem important to you might not concern your friends… the crybaby rants about this shows that far too many people have a very loose grasp of reality!

  4. AlbertE. says:

    The BND WAS THE CREATION OF THE CIA! Funded by the CIA and the CIA got the take. Undoubtedly some was held back or there were secrets kept from the American consumer but rather think of what the CIA did as quality control of a product. Keep your employees honest by spying on them. Employers do snooping all the time. NO different in the intelligence business than in any other business. The BND too was very loose with security and the CIA had doubts about the reliability of some sources!

  5. intelNews says:

    The post-war BND was indeed the creation of the CIA –in fact many intelligence historians consider them one organization until at least the late 1960s. There are, of course, other issues there as well, such as the Gehlen network, etc. [JF]

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