Dave Emory’s entire lifetime of work is available on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books available on this site.)
NB: This description contains information not contained in the original broadcast.
Introduction: This program highlights the stunning hypocrisy of European critics of the NSA. Echoing Claude Rains’ character Louis Reynaud from the film Casablanca they are “shocked, shocked”! As it turns out, the critics are as hypocritical as Reynaud, who’s surprise and outrage at the fact that there was gambling going on in Rick’s Cafe was tempered by the croupier’s rendering of his own winnings to him.
We note that many of the critics used the exact verbiage–“shocked” in response to the Snowden material.
Former French spymaster Bernard Squarcini laid it on the line, when he noted that not only do the French intelligence services do the same thing, but it was common knowledge that ALL major powers (and some minor ones) do the same thing. Squarcini skewered the critics on their hypocrisy and expressed “shock” of his own that the politicians didn’t seem to read the reports they were given.
Revealing the EU’s extreme hypocrisy is the disclosure that that body is going to form its own military intelligence unit to do exactly the same things as the NSA, in response to European “shock” over the Snowden material.
We conclude with a story that has profound implications.
In FTR #761, we noted that Ernst Uhlrau had an interesting curriculum vitae. Chief of the Hamburg police during a period in which German intelligence had members of the Hamburg cell of 9/11 hijackers under surveillance, Uhrlau was appointed special adviser to the Chancellor on intelligence matters in 1998. He became head of the BND in 2005.
During Uhrlau’s tenure as BND director, files on BND officials with SS and Gestapo backgrounds were shredded. Note that the individuals whose files were destroyed were BND executives, not field agents, and that they has held “significant intelligence positions in the SS, the SD (the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.”
A very important update is included in this description. It was not in the original broadcast. A revealing article in Der Spiegel notes two critical details: the very same Angela Merkel who is “shocked, shocked” at what the NSA is doing has not only put roadblocks in European data privacy rules to guard against unwarranted government surveillance but is actively seeking admittance to the “Five Eyes” club, which dates to World War II! Neither Merkel, nor Germany, nor the Underground Reich is “shocked, shocked” at all! They want IN!
Pray tell, if it’s wrong when they are NOT included, why is it “right” when they are, hmmmm?
Program Highlights Include:
- Review of material covered years ago on For The Record. The program notes that the information about NSA and GCHQ hoovering up electronic communications is not new. (Mr. Emory has been discussing this for years, referencing the analysis from open sources.) A New York Times article from 9/6/2001 highlights a European Parliament report that was compiled over the course of a year. The report notes, among other things, that several European countries were doing similar things.
- A former French Foreign Minister said he was “shocked,” but then went on to admit that all countries did this and confessed to jealousy over the extent of the NSA surveillance. A British diplomat notes that telephonic communications are assumed by the diplomatic community to be monitored. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright relates the French ambassador querying her about the nature of a private communication, apparently intercepted by French intelligence.
- A Financial Times story notes that Europe’s electronic surveillance capability is formidable and more than comparable to the NSA. Note that James Clapper testified that electronic surveillance given to other countries for surveillance of terrorists was being used against the United States.
- Citizen [Glenn] Greenwald has also misrepresented alleged NSA hoovering-up of communications of Norwegian citizens. The head of Norwegian intelligence has contradicted Greenwald, indicating that it was Norwegian operatives who gleaned the information.
- Not only is the BND involved with doing the same thing as NSA, they partner with NSA on some of the programs inside Germany. The German outrage is, as an observer noted, “feigned.”
- Ironically, in the dust-up following disclosure of NSA spying on European Union offices, it was revealed that the phone system that was tapped was run by Siemens. Siemens is inextricably linked with German intelligence which can be safely assumed to have been tapping the calls as well.
- BND has utilized Deutsche Telekom to conduct the same type of surveillance in which the NSA engages. Deutsche Telekom is the parent company of T-Mobile and recently acquired Metro PCS. It is a safe bet that Americans using either T-Mobile or Metro PCS are being spied on by BND. (Deutsche Telekom is controlled by the German government.)
- The BKA (German equivalent of the FBI) is using the FinFisher spyware touched on in the Financial Times story above.
- UPDATE: Merkel has proposed an EU-wide communications network in response to NSA spying, as Germany is ramping up its own spying on U.S. and British targets.
1a. Beginning with review of material covered years ago on For The Record, the program notes that the information about NSA and GCHQ hoovering up electronic communications is not new. (Mr. Emory has been discussing this for years, referencing the analysis from open sources.) A New York Times article from 9/6/2001 highlights a European Parliament report that was compiled over the course of a year. The report notes, among other things, that several European countries were doing similar things.
[Notice when this was published–9/6/2001.–D.E.] . . . The United States-led spying system known as Echelon can monitor virtually every communication in the world — by e-mail, phone or fax — that bounces off a satellite, the European Parliament was told. But in reporting on a yearlong study of the system that was prompted by concern that American companies were using data from the system to gain a competitive edge, Gerhard Schmid, a German member of the Parliament, said that many European countries had similar abilities . . .
1b. Russian president Vladimir Putin summed up the nature of the public disclosures of Snowden.
. . . .“Personally I’d prefer to keep out of such questions,” he said. “It’s like shearing a piglet: all squealing and no wool.” . . . .
1c. Former French Spymaster Bernard Squarcini noted the fact that all countries, including France, engage in the same kind of activity that NSA does. He found it remarkable that officials could react with the feigned astonishment that they displayed.
“Paris Also Snoops on US, Says ex-French Spy Boss ” by Tony Todd; France24; 10/24/2013.
Spying on allies is all in a day’s work, the former head of France’s domestic intelligence agency (pictured) said on Thursday, following reports that the US National Security Agency recorded millions of French phone calls.
France spies on the US just as the US spies on France, the former head of France’s counter-espionage and counter-terrorism agency said Friday, commenting on reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) recorded millions of French telephone calls.
Bernard Squarcini, head of the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI) intelligence service until last year, told French daily Le Figaro he was “astonished” when Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was “deeply shocked” by the claims.
“I am amazed by such disconcerting naiveté,” he said in the interview. “You’d almost think our politicians don’t bother to read the reports they get from the intelligence services.”
On Monday, French daily Le Monde published a story based on leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, alleging that the NSA had recorded 70 million phone calls in France in a 30-day period from December 10 to January 8 this year.
The following day French President Franços Hollande called his US counterpart Barack Obama to express “deep disapproval of these practices, which are unacceptable between friends and allies because they infringe on the privacy of French citizens”.
But for Squarcini, who was questioned in 2011 over surveillance of journalists investigating alleged illegal campaign funding for former president Nicolas Sarkozy, spying on allies is all in a day’s work.
“The French intelligence services know full well that all countries, whether or not they are allies in the fight against terrorism, spy on each other all the time,” he said.
“The Americans spy on French commercial and industrial interests, and we do the same to them because it’s in the national interest to protect our companies.”
“There was nothing of any real surprise in this report,” he added. “No one is fooled.” . . . .
2a. Le Monde reported on the French spying program cited above:
France’s foreign intelligence service intercepts computer and telephone data on a vast scale, like the controversial US Prism programme, according to the French daily Le Monde.
The data is stored on a supercomputer at the headquarters of the DGSE intelligence service, the paper says.
The operation is “outside the law, and beyond any proper supervision”, Le Monde says.
Other French intelligence agencies allegedly access the data secretly.
It is not clear however whether the DGSE surveillance goes as far as Prism. So far French officials have not commented on Le Monde’s allegations.
The DGSE allegedly analyses the “metadata” — not the contents of e-mails and other communications, but the data revealing who is speaking to whom, when and where.
Connections inside France and between France and other countries are all monitored, Le Monde reports.
The paper alleges the data is being stored on three basement floors of the DGSE building in Paris. The secret service is the French equivalent of Britain’s MI6. . . .
The operation is designed, say experts, to uncover terrorist cells. But the scale of it means that “anyone can be spied on, any time”, Le Monde says. . . .
2b. A story that broke the day the program was recorded and is not in the original broadcast informs us that France is expanding its surveillance effort, without substantive oversight!
For all their indignation last summer, when the scope of the United States’ mass data collection began to be made public, the French are hardly innocents in the realm of electronic surveillance. Within days of the reports about the National Security Agency’s activities, it was revealed that French intelligence services operated a similar system, with similarly minimal oversight.
And last week, with little public debate, the legislature approved a law that critics feared would markedly expand electronic surveillance of French residents and businesses.
The provision, quietly passed as part of a routine military spending bill, defines the conditions under which intelligence agencies may gain access to, or record telephone conversations, e-mails, Internet activity, personal location data and other electronic communications.
The law provides for no judicial oversight and allows electronic surveillance for a broad range of purposes, including “national security,” the protection of France’s “scientific and economic potential” and prevention of “terrorism” or “criminality.” . . . .
2c. A former French Foreign Minister said he was “shocked,” but then went on to admit that all countries did this and confessed to jealousy over the extent of the NSA surveillance. A British diplomat notes that telephonic communications are assumed by the diplomatic community to be monitored.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright relates the French ambassador querying her about the nature of a private communication, apparently intercepted by French intelligence.
. . . . “The magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us,” former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a radio interview. “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”
So where in the world isn’t the NSA? That’s one big question raised by the disclosures. Whether the tapping of allies is a step too far might be moot.
The British ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, tweeted this past week: “I work on assumption that 6+ countries tap my phone. Increasingly rare that diplomats say anything sensitive on calls.” . . . .
. . . . Madeleine Albright, secretary of state during the Clinton administration, recalled being at the United Nations and having the French ambassador ask her why she said something in a private conversation apparently intercepted by the French. . . .
3. Europe’s electronic surveillance capability is formidable and more than comparable to the NSA. Note that James Clapper testified that electronic surveillance given to other countries for surveillance of terrorists was being used against the United States.
Europe’s politicians are outraged about alleged US monitoring of EU telephone and computer communications. But when it comes to building and exporting spy equipment, few are as capable as Europe.
That much was evident last month when the world’s leading sellers of electronic surveillance technology gathered in Prague at the ISS World trade show.
Police and spy agency officials listened to closed-door presentations by a succession of European companies about their highly sophisticated internet and telephone communication interception wares.
Hacking Team, a Milan-based maker of eavesdropping software, demonstrated in Prague its remotely controlled spyware that can tap encrypted communications, Skype calls and instant messenger chats. The system also has audio and video capability, which allows police to spy using the target’s own webcam.
Munich-based Trovicor schooled agents on its “cell-based monitoring solution” to handle mass recordings while Gamma International, a UK-German company, demonstrated its controversial “FinFisher” spyware tool for remotely monitoring mobile phone communications.
At a time when European countries are loudly condemning the US and UK’s spying activities, Europe’s spy technology expertise is a potential source of embarrassment.
Privacy activists and politicians fear that, if left unregulated, sales of European surveillance technology could infringe human rights overseas, as well as damaging the cyber security of people in Europe. . . .
. . . .This means that more than 50 per cent of the almost $6bn a year market for off-the-shelf surveillance equipment – the kind favoured by nearly all governments except the US – is controlled by western European companies, according to Mr Lucas. . . .
. . . . In fact, it was James Clapper, US director of national intelligence, who told the US Senate in March that foreign governments had begun using surveillance technologies originally marketed for “lawful interception” to target US systems. . . .
4. Citizen [Glenn] Greenwald has also misrepresented alleged NSA hoovering-up of communications of Norwegian citizens. The head of Norwegian intelligence has contradicted Greenwald, indicating that it was Norwegian operatives who gleaned the information.
Glenn Greenwald’s latest story extracted from the NSA documents stolen by Edward Snowden is yet another example of how he distorts the information to smear the US — every time.
His article for Dagbladet claims that the NSA spied on “33 million” Norwegian telephone calls, but Norway’s chief of military intelligence says the claim is totally false. In fact, the telephone metadata discussed in Greenwald’s story was collected by Norwegian intelligence and shared with the NSA — and it was not even collected in Norway.
OSLO, Norway — Norway’s military intelligence chief said Tuesday his country carries out surveillance on millions of phone calls in conflict areas around the world and shares that data with allies, including the United States.
Lt. Gen. Kjell Grandhagen made the statement at a hastily organized news conference called in response to a story in the tabloid Dagbladet, which reported that 33 million Norwegian phone calls had been monitored by the U.S. National Security Agency.
Grandhagen vigorously denied the story.
“We had to correct that picture because we know that this in fact is not about surveillance in Norway or against Norway, but it is about the Norwegian intelligence effort abroad,” he told The Associated Press.
He stressed that his agency’s actions were legal under Norwegian law since the surveillance was based on suspicions of terrorism-related activity and that potential targets could include Norwegian citizens abroad.
Grandhagen said his intelligence agency had “absolutely no indication” that the NSA was spying on Norwegians.
Not only has Greenwald been shown — again — to be distorting and exaggerating the facts, this also strongly refutes his claim that there’s something uniquely evil about USA intelligence activities. Even Norway has a mass metadata collection program going on. If anything is clear by now from all this, it’s that every country in the world that has the capability to do this kind of surveillance is doing it. And they’re doing it to protect their citizens from terrorism, not for some nefarious evil privacy-destroying agenda.
5. Not only is the BND involved with doing the same thing as NSA, they partner with NSA on some of the programs inside Germany. The German outrage is, as an observer noted “feigned.”
. . . . From the very beginning, the claims by the government and the BND of having had no idea about these NSA activities have only provoked a bored smile from specialists. “Experts have known that for a long time,” insists BND expert, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom. “The German government must long since have also known about it through BND evaluations and Studies by the Federal Office of Information Security (BSI).” The “uproar” in Berlin is, “feigned, in this question.” . . .
. . . . He [historian Joseph Foschepoth] has found that in 1968, Bonn concluded a secret administrative agreement, which, based on agreements of the 1950s, had obligated the German government “to carry out surveillance of post and telecommunication for the Western victorious powers, or to allow them to carry out this surveillance themselves.” According to Foschepoth, this administrative agreement “remains unaltered in force, today.” This provides the legal basis for US military intelligence agencies to autonomously execute “surveillance of the post and telecommunication traffic” in Germany. . . .
6. Ironically, in the dust-up following disclosure of NSA spying on European Union offices, it was revealed that the phone system that was tapped was run by Siemens. Siemens is inextricably linked with German intelligence which can be safely assumed to have been tapping the calls as well.
. . . A little over five years ago, security experts discovered that a number of odd, aborted phone calls had been made around a certain extension within the Justus Lipsius building, the headquarters of the European Council, the powerful body representing the leaders of the EU’s 27 member states. The calls were all made to numbers close to the one used as the remote servicing line of the Siemens telephone system used in the building. . . .
7. BND has utilized Deutsche Telekom to conduct the same type of surveillance in which the NSA engages. Deutsche Telekom is the parent company of T-Mobile and recently acquired Metro PCS. It is a safe bet that Americans using either T-Mobile or Metro PCS are being spied on by BND. (Deutsche Telekom is controlled by the German government.)
Between Friday night and Sunday morning, a massive deletion operation took place at the European Internet address register (RIPE) to scrub references to a cover used by Germany’s premier spy agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND.
The cleanup operation comes the night after Wikileaks revealed over two dozen covert BND networks provided by T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom). The IP addresses were assigned to an unregistered company at a Munich-based PO box linked to T-Systems.
T-Systems purged the RIPE database of all addresses exposed by Wikileaks, moving the addresses into a several giant anonymous “Class B” address pools.
The move comes just a few hours after T-Systems Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) contacted Wikileaks to demand removal of an internal T-Systems memo listing the BND cover addresses. Wikileaks refused and T-System did not respond to requests for further detail by the time of writing.
Yet an investigation into the addresses over the weekend reveals key information about the BND’s Internet activities. . . . .
Website references reveal that in 2006 numerous hosters of Internet websites complained about out of control “data mining” robots from two of the BND-linked IP addresses. One of the hosters ran a popular discussion forum on counter-terrorism operations.
The integrity and transparency of the RIPE system is not assisted by the T-Systems deletion. German citizens may wonder at the double standard. At a time when the population’s Internet addresses are being recorded by ISPs under laws derisively referred to as “Stasi 2.0”, the “real Stasi”—the BND, has had the largest telco in Germany scrub its addresses from the European record within 24 hours of their exposure.
8. A recent Guardian story takes stock of the fact that the BND–German foreign intelligence–is “as bad as the NSA.”
In recent weeks there has been much criticism of the US National Security Agency. It spies on people indiscriminately – even the citizens of its European allies – goes the furious and clearly justified accusation. Politicians in Germany and the EU have repeatedly criticised the US. Yet it seems they themselves are sitting in a rather large glass house.
The German intelligence service – the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – to name an example close to home, does exactly the same thing as the NSA abroad and it does so within a similar legal framework. “The differences between the BND and the NSA are much smaller than is generally accepted by the public,” write Stefan Heumann and Ben Scott in their study on the legal foundations of internet surveillance programmes in the US, the UK and Germany. . . .
. . . . Heumann works at the German thinktank Neue Verantwortung (New Responsibility), Scott was an adviser to the former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and is now a policy adviser at the Open Technology Institute, part of the New America Foundation thinktank. In their study, the analysts compared the legal foundations, focus and parliamentary oversight of spying programmes in three countries.
Their findings: the NSA runs the biggest spying programme and has the advantage that its targets – the internet providers – are mainly based in the US. Yet at its core the NSA’s surveillance is no different from that of the British GCHQ and the BND in Germany. The underlying laws have the same structure, write Heumann and Scott, even if “their interpretation can differ”.
Heumann and Scott are not the first to say this. The Berlin-based lawyer Niko Härting, for example, has compared the legal foundations for the work of the NSA and the BND. He also found that both agencies are essentially doing the same thing in that they consider everyone living outside their territory to be “without rights”. In short: intelligence services are allowed to spy on foreigners completely unimpeded. Härting points out that it is, after all, the job of foreign intelligence services to watch everybody else. . . . .
9. Like the French intelligence service, BND is expanding its internet surveillance capabilities.
Germany‘s main intelligence agency plans to expand internet surveillance by launching a five-year programme that will cost 100 million euros (133 million dollars), Der Spiegel magazine reported Sunday.
The report about the federal intelligence service‘s (BND) plans comes days after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed details of top-secret US government surveillance programmes that gathered vast telephone records and internet data.
With the additional funding, the BND will add 100 new employees to its technical intelligence department and bolster its computing and server capacities, the report said.
The government has already released a first tranche of 5 million euros, according to Der Spiegel.
To fight terrorism and organized crime, the BND is permitted by law to monitor 20 per cent of all communications between Germany and foreign nations. Until now, it only had the capacity to check on 5 per cent of traffic — emails, telephone calls, Facebook and Skype chats — because of technical issues.
With the new capabilities, the BND wants to ensure that cross-border traffic can be monitored as comprehensively as possible, just as is done in the United States by the National Security Agency (NSA), which specializes in electronic intelligence. . . .
10. A story from the fall of 2011 notes that the BND is operating in violation of German law. (A tip of the hat to the Chaos Computer Club for their work on this one.)
A German hacker organization claims to have cracked spying software allegedly used by German authorities. The Trojan horse has functions which go way beyond those allowed by German law. The news has sparked a wave of outrage among politicians and media commentators.
It sounds like something out of George Orwell’s novel “1984” — a computer program that can remotely control someone’s computer without their knowledge, search its complete contents and use it to conduct audio-visual surveillance via the microphone or webcam.
But the spy software that the famous German hacker organization Chaos Computer Club has obtained is not used by criminals looking to steal credit-card data or send spam e-mails. If the CCC is to be believed, the so-called “Trojan horse” software was used by German authorities. The case has already triggered a political shockwave in the country and could have far-reaching consequences.
On Saturday, the CCC announced that it had been given hard drives containing a “state spying software” which had allegedly been used by German investigators to carry out surveillance of Internet communication. The organization had analyzed the software and found it to be full of defects. They also found that it transmitted information via a server located in the US. As well as its surveillance functions, it could be used to plant files on an individual’s computer. It was also not sufficiently protected, so that third parties with the necessary technical skills could hijack the Trojan horse’s functions for their own ends. The software possibly violated German law, the organization said.
So-called Trojan horse software can be surreptitiously delivered by a harmless-looking e-mail and installed on a user’s computer without their knowledge, where it can be used to, for example, scan the contents of a hard drive. In 2007, the German Interior Ministry announced it had designed a Trojan horse that could be used to search the hard drives of terror suspects.
Beyond the Limits
The hard drives that the CCC analyzed came from at least two different German states. It was unclear whether the software, which is said to be at least three years old, had been used by state-level or national authorities. In a Sunday statement, the Interior Ministry denied that the software had been used by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), which is similar to the American FBI. The statement did not explicitly rule out the possibility that the software could have been used by state-level police forces.
If the CCC’s claims are true, then the software has functions which were expressly forbidden by Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court, in a landmark 2008 ruling which significantly restricted what was allowed in terms of online surveillance. The court also specified that online spying was only permissible if there was concrete evidence of danger to individuals or society. . . .
11. The BKA (German equivalent of the FBI) is using the FinFisher spyware touched on in the Financial Times story above.
The German Federal Police office has purchased the commercial Spyware toolkit FinFisher of Elaman/Gamma Group. This is revealed by a secret document of the Ministry of the Interior, which we are publishing exclusively. Instead of legitimizing products used by authoritarian regimes for the violation of human rights, the German state should restrict the export of such state malware.
In October 2011, German hacker organization Chaos Computer Club (CCC) analyzed a malware used by German government authorities. The product of the German company DigiTask was not just programmed badly and lacking elementary security, it was in breach of German law. In a landmark case, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled in 2008 that surveillance software targeting telecommunications must be technologically limited to a specific task. Instead, the CCC found that the DigiTask software took over the entire computer and included the option to remotely add features, thereby clearly violating the court ruling.
Since then, many German authorities have stopped using DigiTask spyware and started to create their own state malware. For this task, a “Center of Competence for Information Technology Surveillance (CC ITÜ)” was established, sporting a three million Euro budget and a team of 30 people. Today, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is informing the Federal Parliament Bundestag about the center’s progress and work. Members of the Finance Committee of the German Parliament are receiving a classified document, that we are now publishing. . . .
12. Next, we visit a VERY revealing story. In response to the Snowden material, the EU is so “shocked, shocked” that its leaders have resolved to create their own military intelligence capability to do EXACTLY what they are criticizing. This presumably is in addition to the fact that European intelligence agencies already to the same thing for which NSA is being criticized.
The European Union is planning to “own and operate” spy drones, surveillance satellites and aircraft as part of a new intelligence and security agency under the control of Baroness Ashton.
The controversial proposals are a major move towards creating an independent EU military body with its own equipment and operations, and will be strongly opposed by Britain.
Officials told the Daily Telegraph that the European Commission and Lady Ashton’s European External Action Service want to create military command and communication systems to be used by the EU for internal security and defence purposes. Under the proposals, purchasing plans will be drawn up by autumn.
The use of the new spy drones and satellites for “internal and external security policies”, which will include police intelligence, the internet, protection of external borders and maritime surveillance, will raise concerns that the EU is creating its own version of the US National Security Agency.
Senior European officials regard the plan as an urgent response to the recent scandal over American and British communications surveillance by creating EU’s own security and spying agency.
“The Edward Snowden scandal shows us that Europe needs its own autonomous security capabilities, this proposal is one step further towards European defence integration,” said a senior EU official. . . .
13. Baroness Ashton is viewed as weak and subject to being a German pawn.
Berlin is insisting on access to essential posts in the European External Action Service (EEAS). According to news reports, the German government is demanding that the post of EEAS General Secretary be given to a German. Leading personnel from the Chancellery and the Foreign Ministry are being suggested. The general secretary heads the administration and is second only to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, who is considered to be very weak, meaning that a German EEAS general secretary would have a free hand. The structuring of the EEAS is one of Berlin’s most essential objectives since the Lisbon Treaty took effect, reinforcing the EU on its path toward becoming a world power. As was expressed in Berlin’s foreign ministry, the basic features of the new administration must be institutionalized by April 2010, so that the British Conservatives, expected to be the victors of the next parliamentary elections in the spring of 2010, will not be able to have any influence. They are capable of putting up serious resistance to German hegemonic policy. . . .
14. We review the curriculum vitae of Ernst Uhrlau.
. . . . From 1996-98, Ernst Uhrlau was the Chief of Hamburg Police. In 1998, Uhrlau was appointed a Coordinator of the Intelligence Community in the office of the Chancellor.
On 1 December 2005, he was appointed to the post of the head of the BND. . . .
15. In FTR #761, we noted that Ernst Uhlrau had an interesting curriculum vitae. Chief of the Hamburg police during a period in which German intelligence had members of the Hamburg cell of 9/11 hijackers under surveillance, Uhrlau was appointed special adviser to the Chancellor on intelligence matters in 1998. He became head of the BND in 2005.
During Uhrlau’s tenure as BND director, files on BND officials with SS and Gestapo backgrounds were shredded. Note that the individuals whose files were destroyed were BND executives, not field agents, and that they has held “significant intelligence positions in the SS, the SD (the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.”
Historians conducting an internal study of ties between employees of the German foreign intelligence agency and the Third Reich have made a shocking discovery. In 2007, the BND destroyed personnel files of employees who had once been members of the SS and the Gestapo. . . .
. . . . Now, only one week before Uhrlau’s retirement, the commission has uncovered what is a true historical scandal. The researchers have found that the BND destroyed the personnel files of around 250 BND officials in 2007. The agency has confirmed that this happened.
The commission claims that the destroyed documents include papers on people who were “in significant intelligence positions in the SS, the SD (the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.” They added that some of the individuals had even been investigated after 1945 for possible war crimes. Historian Klaus-Dietmar Henke, spokesman for the commission, told SPIEGEL ONLINE he was “somewhat stunned” by the occurrence.
Did Agency Employees Seek to Sabotage Investigation? . . .
. . . . It is no secret that some people within the BND are unhappy about Uhrlau’s project. Some employees are fundamentally opposed to the agency shedding light on its own past. Others are worried about the reputations of their own families — for many years, the BND deliberately recruited new staff from among the relatives of existing BND employees. . . .
16. In a story that will be discussed in the next installment of “The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook,” a VERY important story was unearthed for us by “Pterrafractyl.” A very revealing article in Der Spiegel notes two VERY important things: the very same Angela Merkel who is “shocked, shocked” at what the NSA is doing has not only put roadblocks in European data privacy rules to guard against unwarranted government surveillance but is actively seeking admittance to the “Five Eyes” club, which dates to World War II!
She’s not “shocked, shocked” at all! She wants access to the Five Eyes, which means–DUH–that she APPROVES of this very thing!
What a hypocrite she is! And what a sick, sick spectacle this whole bloody mess is, with a bunch of nitwits caterwauling about “civil liberties,” “human rights,” “the constitution,” and so forth.
Chancellor Merkel has put on a good show of being outraged by American spying. But, at the same time, she has impeded efforts to strengthen data security. Does she really want more privacy, or is she more interested in being accepted into the exclusive group of info-sharing countries known as the ‘Five Eyes’ club?
One particular point of clarification was especially important to Angela Merkel during the EU summit in Brussels last week. When she complained about the NSA’s alleged tapping of her cellphone, the German chancellor made clear that her concern was not for herself, but for the “telephones of millions of EU citizens,” whose privacy she said was compromised by US spying.
Yet at a working dinner with fellow EU heads of state on Thursday, where the agenda included a proposed law to bolster data protection, Merkel’s fighting spirit on behalf of the EU’s citizens seemed to have dissipated.
In fact, internal documents show that Germany applied the brakes when it came to speedy passage of such a reform. Although a number of EU member states — including France, Italy and Poland — were pushing for the creation of a Europe-wide modern data protection framework before European Parliament elections take place in May 2014, the issue ended up tabled until 2015.
Great Britain, itself suspected of spying on its EU partners, and Prime Minister David Cameron, who has former Google CEO Eric Schmidt as one of his advisors, put up considerable resistance. He pushed instead for the final summit statement to call simply for “rapid” progress on a solid EU data-protection framework.
A Setback for ‘Europe ‘s Declaration of Independence ’
Merkel also joined those applying the brakes. Over the weekend, SPIEGEL ONLINE gained access to internal German Foreign Ministry documents concerning the EU leaders’ final summit statement. The “track changes” feature reflects a crucial proposed change to item No. 8 under the subject heading “Digital Economy” — the suggestion that the phrase “adoption next year” be replaced with “The negotiations have to be carried on intensively.”
Ultimately, the official version of the final summit statement simply called for “rapid” progress on the issue — just as Great Britain was hoping for.
This amounts to a setback for proponents of the proposed data-protection law, which EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has called “Europe’s declaration of independence.”
The European Parliament recently began drafting stricter regulations in this area, including potential fines running into the billions of euros for any Internet company caught illegally passing private data to US intelligence agencies. Such proposed legislation has the support even of some of Merkel’s fellow conservatives in the European Parliament, including Manfred Weber of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who says: “We need to finally summon the political will for more data protection.”
American tech corporations could hardly believe their luck at having Merkel’s support. Now they’re hoping for more leeway to water down the data-protection law as soon as the furor over the latest spying scandal has subsided. One high-ranking American tech-company executive told the Financial Times: “When we saw the story about Merkel’s phone being tapped … we thought we were going to lose.” But, he added: “It looks like we won.” [Yeah, the tech companies are “shocked, shocked” too–D.E.]
Indeed, the EU leaders’ anger was already starting to dissipate during their sessions in Brussels. Summit participants say leaders pointed out that Europe is not exactly on the side of the angels when it comes to government spying. Luxembourg’s prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, cautioned his fellow leaders, questioning whether they were certain their own intelligence agencies had never violated data privacy themselves.
Code of Conduct for Intelligence Agencies
The concerns of the tech industry, in particular, received an attentive ear among Europe’s leaders. One summit participant relates that restructuring data-protection laws was portrayed as a “laborious” task that would require more time to complete, and that Merkel did not push for speed on the matter, to the surprise of some of her counterparts. [!–D.E.]
According to summit participants, the German chancellor seemed far more interested in the “Five Eyes” alliance among the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The top-level allies within this exclusive group, which began in 1946 as a pact between London and Washington, have agreed not to spy on one another, but instead to share information and resources. In Brussels, Cameron stressed to his fellow leaders how many terrorist attacks had been prevented by successful intelligence work.
Merkel, meanwhile, stated: “Unlike David, we are unfortunately not part of this group.” According to the New York Times, Germany has sought membership in the “Five Eyes” alliance for years, but has been turned down due to opposition, including from the Obama administration. But this could now change, the paper speculates.
17. UPDATE: Angela Merkel has proposed an EU-wide communications system to guard against NSA and GCHQ spying, while ramping up spying against the U.S.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has announced plans to set up a European communications network as part of a broad counter-espionage offensive designed to curb mass surveillance conducted by the US National Security Agency and its British counterpart, GCHQ. . . .
. . . . Announcing the project in her weekly podcast, Ms Merkel said she envisaged setting up a European communications network which would offer protection from NSA surveillance by side-stepping the current arrangement whereby emails and other internet data automatically pass through the United States.
The NSA’s German phone and internet surveillance operation is reported to be one of the biggest in the EU. In co-operation with GCHQ it has direct access to undersea cables carrying transatlantic communications between Europe and the US.
Ms Merkel said she planned to discuss the project with the French President, François Hollande, when she meets him in Paris on Wednesday. “Above all we’ll talk about European providers that offer security to our citizens, so that one shouldn’t have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic,” she said. “Rather one could build up a communications network inside Europe.”
French government officials responded by saying Paris intended to “take up” the German initiative.
Ms Merkel’s proposals appear to be part of a wider German counter-espionage offensive, reported to be under way in several of Germany’s intelligence agencies, against NSA and GCHQ surveillance.
Der Spiegel magazine said on Sunday that it had obtained information about plans by Germany’s main domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, for a “massive” increase in counter-espionage measures.
The magazine said there were plans to subject both the American and British Embassies in Berlin to surveillance. It said the measures would include obtaining exact details about intelligence agents who were accredited as diplomats, and information about the technology being used within the embassies. . . .