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Memo to Merkel: Get a Grip, Part 2

Aw, Angie! Why the long face?

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.)

COMMENT: A crucial story was unearthed for us by “Pterrafractyl.” A revealing article in Der Spiegel notes two VERY important things: the same Angela Merkel who is “shocked, shocked” at what the NSA is doing has not only put roadblocks in European data privacy rules designed 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.

In the For The Record series dealing with the adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook, we will explore the possibility that Merkel, BND and Underground Reich are holding U.S. internet companies hostage to the “Five Eyes” admission process.

“Appear­ances and Real­ity: Merkel Balks at EU Pri­vacy Push” by Gre­gor Peter Schmitz Der Spiegel10/28/2013.

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 sup­portNow 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.

 

Discussion

5 comments for “Memo to Merkel: Get a Grip, Part 2”

  1. It looks like Brazil has a growing anarchist problem although, as the article below points out, the rise of anarchist movements can be viewed, in part, as emblematic of the growing frustrations of Brazil’s new middle-class. And that makes it a much larger problem for the Brazilian government than just a bunch of protesting anarchists. Solutions are being found. Quiet solutions:

    Insight: Brazil spies on protesters, hoping to protect World Cup

    By Brian Winter

    SAO PAULO Wed Feb 5, 2014 12:47pm EST

    (Reuters) – Brazilian security forces are using undercover agents, intercepting e-mails, and rigorously monitoring social media to try to ensure that violent anti-government protesters do not ruin soccer’s World Cup this year, officials told Reuters.

    Demonstrations in recent months have been much smaller than those last June when Brazil hosted a dress rehearsal tournament for the World Cup, shaking President Dilma Rousseff’s government and contributing to an economic slowdown.

    But they have still resulted in vandalism of banks and paralyzed parts of major cities as a hard core of perhaps a few thousand protesters nationwide, some of whom wear masks and call themselves “Black Blocs,” clash with police.

    Rousseff’s government fears the protests, the most recent of which carried the slogan “There Will Be No World Cup,” could severely disrupt the tournament, which kicks off on June 12 in Sao Paulo and ends with the final on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro.

    Widespread images of shattered storefronts, frightened tourists and injured police and protesters – all of which have occurred already – could tarnish an event that will attract an estimated 600,000 foreign visitors and is meant to display Brazil’s emergence as a global power. Protests are being planned in all 12 cities that will host matches.

    The recent fragility of Brazil’s economy, plus a presidential election in October in which Rousseff will run for a second four-year term, have raised the stakes even further.

    The media office at Brazil’s SESGE, a division of the justice ministry charged with World Cup security, referred questions about government surveillance initiatives to the defense ministry, which declined comment.

    But officials speaking on condition of anonymity described widespread and growing surveillance of Black Bloc members, the extent of which has not been previously reported.

    In addition to monitoring the group’s communications on Facebook and other social media, intelligence agents have infiltrated the movement and passed along information to police before and during recent demonstrations, two officials said.

    Authorities have also used advanced technology to locate the computers of violent protesters and gain access to their communications, with the intent of identifying leaders and monitoring their activities, one official said.

    The officials emphasized that such efforts were not being directed toward the Brazilian public at-large, but at members of violent groups. They declined to specify which agencies or police forces were conducting the surveillance, or provide more details about how the information was being used.

    The tactics reflect the Rousseff administration’s belief that, unlike last year’s mostly peaceful, political protests involving the middle class, the Black Blocs are a criminal problem and should be treated as such.

    “Last year everybody thought this was the 1960s. But now it’s just Seattle,” one senior official said, referencing protests that famously turned violent at the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization.

    INTERNATIONAL ORIGINS

    The surveillance risks prompting a backlash in a country with bad memories of a 1964-85 military dictatorship that spied extensively on suspected leftists including Rousseff herself, who was then a member of a Marxist guerrilla group.

    Fernando Grella Vieira, who oversees state police in Sao Paulo, declined to comment on intelligence procedures but said security forces “completely respect the right of people to protest in peace.”

    “We are acting to ensure the safety of the people against those who seek violence,” Grella said.

    A protest in Sao Paulo on January 25 offered a vivid example of the kind of disorder that could potentially spoil the World Cup.

    Following a peaceful demonstration of about 1,500 people, a few dozen protesters split away to cut off major downtown avenues, set fires and try to topple a police car.

    When police pursued a group of protesters into a hotel lobby, panic ensued among guests, some of whom were ordered to sit on the floor as officers tried to identify the protesters and arrest them, according to local media. Other guests, terrified, sought refuge in their rooms.

    The protesters, and those who have studied them, say such incidents have been aggravated by the government’s response – which they say fundamentally misses what the movement is about.

    Black Blocs are an international phenomenon, having first appeared in Europe in the 1980s during protests against nuclear power and other issues. Some academics have compared them to early 20th-century anarchists, noting their key role in anti-globalization protests like the 1999 event in Seattle.

    In some cases, the groups have been leaderless and bereft of any organization, united only by their tactics and the way they dress – typically in all black. In others, some coordination does take place.

    In Sao Paulo, the Black Blocs have taken on a local flavor. Adherents are mostly males between the ages of 15 and 23, and are members of the new lower-middle class that blossomed when Brazil’s economy boomed last decade, said Rafael Alcadipani, a professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation business school who has researched the group and interviewed its members.

    That demographic has made big strides in consumption, able to afford washing machines, flat screen TVs and other goods for the first time. But many of these people also suffer from poor health-care facilities, bad public schools and long commutes as the government has not been able to match their rising income – and expectations – with better services.

    The Black Blocs “believe that the Brazilian political system is broken and that it doesn’t represent them,” Alcadipani said.

    Black Blocs in October severely beat a police colonel, breaking his collarbone and stealing his handgun. Protesters counter that the Sao Paulo police have also used brutal tactics, pointing to the shooting of a suspected protester on January 25. Police say they acted in self-defense.

    The government’s biggest fear is that the size and violence of the protests will explode again as the World Cup kicks off.

    Whether that will happen is anybody’s guess, as it depends on factors ranging from the economy to the performance of the Brazil team, which has the most World Cup trophy wins with five. Many believe that, if the hosts are ousted early, Brazilians will be less engaged in games and more likely to take to the streets.

    The Black Blocs’ tactics have frightened many in the middle class, a major reason why demonstrations have shrunk, failing to attract more than a few thousand people since last July.

    However, if police go too far in their repression, it could have the opposite effect. A heavy-handed response to small demonstrations last June enraged many Brazilians, and was a major reason why protests mushroomed in numbers at the time.

    That tricky balance helps explain why authorities are eager to embrace intelligence and other new tactics.

    Grella, the Sao Paulo police chief, said police have studied how other countries such as France handled Black Blocs. Coming weeks will see the debut of a new “Capture Brigade” of uniformed police without firearms that will be charged with detaining violent protesters, he said.

    Police efforts to detain protesters and register their names, and in some cases press charges, have also had an effect. The 200 or so Black Blocs who have been identified by police in Sao Paulo mostly stayed away from the January 25 protest because of fears they would be prosecuted, said Esther Solano, another academic who has studied the group.

    Nevertheless, new members have appeared to take their place – a foreboding sign for later this year.

    “As long as the government doesn’t address the main issues, people are going to keep protesting,” said Alcadipani, the professor. “Nothing has changed since last June.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 5, 2014, 10:36 am
  2. Well this is interesting: Snowden has refused to meet with German lawmakers in Moscow. Instead, Snowden and his Germany lawyer are of the view that this testimony can only take place in Germany:

    The Wall Street Journal
    Snowden Rejects German Request for Meeting in Moscow
    Snowden’s Lawyer Says There’s Neither Scope Nor Need for Meeting In Moscow

    By Harriet Torry
    June 20, 2014 1:34 p.m. ET

    BERLIN—Edward Snowden has rejected German parliamentarians’ request that he answer questions on foreign spying on Germans at a meeting in Moscow, a lawmaker said Friday.

    In a letter to the head of the parliamentary committee investigating the affair seen by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Snowden’s lawyer in Germany wrote that there was “currently neither scope nor need” for an “informal meeting” between the lawmakers and Mr. Snowden in Moscow.

    German lawmakers who sit on parliament’s eight-member investigation committee into foreign intelligence activities had planned to travel to Russia, where Mr. Snowden has temporary political asylum, to quiz the former National Security Agency contractor on leaked information about the agency’s surveillance program.

    “The [parliamentary] investigation committee must respect Edward Snowden’s decision not to make himself available as a witness, even for an informal meeting,” Roderich Kiesewetter, a lawmaker on the committee, said in a statement.

    “It’s surprising that Mr. Snowden doesn’t want to respond to the investigation committee’s questions in detail, but rather just sees his role as one of an expert with specialist knowledge,” Mr. Kiesewetter, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union, said in the statement.

    Wolfgang Kaleck, Mr. Snowden’s lawyer in Germany, wrote in the letter that the lawmakers’ request to have Mr. Snowden testify before the committee would go much further than previous statements his client had given since seeking refuge in Russia. Since the “legal and practical basis” for such a testimony hadn’t been met, there was no ground for an informal meeting in Moscow either, he wrote. Both Mr. Snowden and his lawyer are of the view that the parliamentarians’ desired testimony can only take place in Germany, the letter said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 24, 2014, 5:06 pm
  3. Germany’s Interior Ministry just severed its contract with Verizon and gave it to Deutsche Telekom.

    The Wall Street Journal
    German Government Ends Verizon Contract
    Interior Ministry Cites Security Concerns Amid U.S. Spying Disclosures

    By Anton Troianovski in Berlin and
    Danny Yadron in San Francisco

    Updated June 26, 2014 2:54 p.m. ET

    The German government on Thursday said it would end a contract with Verizon Communications Inc. VZ because of concerns about network security, one of the most concrete signs yet that disclosures about U.S. spying were hurting American technology companies overseas.

    Germany will phase out Verizon’s existing business providing communications services to government agencies by 2015, the Interior Ministry said. The winner in the decision: Deutsche Telekom AG, Verizon rival and German phone giant, which will take on those services.

    The German government’s move underscores the continuing political headaches for U.S. technology businesses operating abroad, more than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden started revealing the reach of America’s electronic surveillance programs and the alleged cooperation with some U.S. firms.

    A Verizon spokeswoman in Germany declined to comment directly on the government’s announcement. She provided a statement saying Verizon’s German subsidiary complied with German law, and that the U.S. government didn’t have access to customer data stored outside the U.S.

    An Interior Ministry spokesman declined to specify the size of the Verizon contract. He said Verizon ran the network interconnecting some government agencies, though not ministries or security agencies. Parliament was expected to sever its relationship with Verizon as well, he added.

    To critics in Europe and elsewhere, the NSA leaks showed that U.S. companies weren’t to be trusted with sensitive data. Non-U.S. technology companies have tried to capitalize on the revelations to gain market share. Increasingly, there are signs that U.S. companies face real problems.

    Microsoft Corp. General Counsel Brad Smith said last week the business troubles stemming from the Snowden leaks were “getting worse, not better.” Cisco Systems Inc. Chief Executive John Chambers has said the disclosures have hurt sales in China. AT&T Inc. executives have said some of their international customers were being urged by overseas competitors to use non-American service providers.

    But with the German government’s decision, Verizon is taking a more direct, public hit. The New York-based company has played a central role in the past year’s government snooping debate. The first reports based on the Snowden documents, published in June 2013, said Verizon was passing along the phone records of millions of U.S. customers to the NSA under a secret court order.

    Those disclosures resurfaced in recent days as German media reported that Verizon had been providing Internet service to the German parliament. The new reports touched a nerve in Germany, a country whose experience with Nazi and Communist dictatorships has made people particularly sensitive to spying and where furor over the NSA disclosures has been raging for a year. Snowden leaks made public last fall indicated the NSA was monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

    On Thursday, the Interior Ministry said the German government would stop buying service from Verizon and cited the NSA revelations in its explanation.

    “The relationships between foreign intelligence agencies and companies revealed in the course of the NSA affair show that especially high demands must be made of federal government communications infrastructure that is critical for security,” the ministry said.

    The Interior Ministry had been planning to reorganize the federal government’s telecommunication services since at least 2010. But Mr. Snowden’s disclosures “certainly didn’t slow” the decision to stop doing business with Verizon, the Interior Ministry spokesman said.

    Verizon makes most of its money providing landline and mobile telecommunications service in the U.S. But it also has been looking to expand by providing service to companies and governments overseas, a business that last year generated $14.7 billion in revenue, roughly 8% of the company’s total. Verizon spent $1.4 billion to buy international data center operator Terremark Worldwide Inc. in 2011 and has been expanding its global network aimed at large organizations.

    The U.S. telecom giant has been trying to head off a Snowden backlash from overseas customers since at least last fall, when its U.S. staff created NSA talking points for its offshore sales team, two people familiar with the matter said. The talking points included assertions the U.S. government didn’t have direct access to Verizon’s offshore data centers, that Verizon obeys local laws in whatever country it operates and that NSA data requests go through American judicial review, the people said.

    Germany’s decision to cancel the contract is one of the most visible effects on a U.S. firm’s business as a result of the leaks. Until now, American executives have issued little more than general warnings of a fallout or given nonspecific examples of foreign customers getting skittish.

    “It is not blowing over,” said Microsoft’s Mr. Smith, during a technology conference in San Francisco last week. He added that it’s difficult to quantify the cost to the Redmond, Wash., software giant.

    This year, Microsoft said it would open a “transparency center” in Brussels where foreign government customers could check software code for security holes that, in theory, U.S. spies could exploit. In January, a Microsoft executive said the center should be open by year-end. Matt Thomlinson, Microsoft’s vice president of security, said the company continues to “make progress on opening transparency centers.”

    Since it’s pretty obvious that the German government was very aware of the NSA’s capabilities and programs (since they are intimate partners), it’s interesting that no one seems to be questioning why this wasn’t done before. And as the article points out, the German parliament is also using Verizon. So could there have been a domestic spying capacity that Verizon and the NSA provided to the German intelligence community that some in the German government appreciated? And might similar capacities be planned for the new Deutsche Telekom-run systems? These seem like questions Germans might want to ask.

    You also have to wonder if this is now going to be the trend across the EU, where domestic telecom providers exclusively get the contracts for government telecom services. It’s a reasonable approach so it seems like a trend we can expect….except for the fact that telecom consolidation across the EU is still one of the top priorities for the incoming EU government. So it raises the question of mow many of the smaller EU nations are going to have a domestic telecom provider with the capacity to build a Deutsche Telekom-style anti-NSA telecom system for government use once this cycle of consolidation is completed? Maybe they’ll have to outsource that service.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 27, 2014, 10:19 am
  4. LOL. Look who’s a target of Germany’s “new” counter-espionage program that was announced in response to the new CIA spy scandal: France:

    The Independent
    Germany to spy on US for first time since 1945 after ‘double agent’ scandal
    Tony Paterson

    Berlin

    Monday 07 July 2014

    Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is planning to scrap a no-spy agreement Germany has held with Britain and the United States since 1945 in response to an embarrassing US-German intelligence service scandal which has deeply soured relations between Berlin and Washington.

    The unprecedented change to Berlin’s counter-espionage policy was announced by Ms Merkel’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière. He said that Berlin wanted “360-degree surveillance” of all intelligence-gathering operations in Germany.

    The intelligence services of the Allied victors, the United States, Britain and France, have hitherto been regarded as “friendly” to Germany. Their diplomatic and information-gathering activities were exempted from surveillance by Berlin’s equivalent of M15 – the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).

    But Mr de Maizière told Bild that he was now not ruling out permanent German counter-espionage surveillance of US, British and French intelligence operations. His remarks were echoed by Stephan Mayer, a domestic security spokesman for Ms Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats. “We must focus more strongly on our so-called allies,” he said.

    The plan is in response to the scandal resulting from last week’s arrest of a 31- year-old BND “double agent” who spent at least two years selling top-secret German intelligence documents to his US spymasters in return for cash payments of €10,000 (£7,940) per document.

    Chancellor Merkel interrupted a current trade visit to China on Monday to describe the scandal as a “very serious development”. She added: “It is a clear contradiction of the notion of trustworthy co-operation.” German politicians have been shocked that the Americans not only failed to report the “double agent” but recruited him.

    Several German MPs on Monday demanded the expulsion of the American agents in Germany who recruited the “double agent”. Hans-Peter Uhl, a leading conservative, told Der Spiegel: “ It goes without saying that the [US] intelligence official responsible should leave Germany.”

    The double agent is reported to have simply emailed Berlin’s American embassy and asked whether officials were interested in “co-operation”. He subsequently downloaded at least 300 secret documents on to USB sticks that he handed to his American spymasters at secret location in Austria.

    He was caught by German counter-espionage agents only after he was found offering similar BND documents to Berlin’s Russian embassy. The Germans had considered it “impossible” that one of their own intelligence men could be working as a “ double agent” for the Americans.

    New German counter-espionage measures would almost certainly result in the monitoring of “listening posts”, which both the American National Security Agency (NSA) and its British equivalent, GCHQ, run from the roofs of their respective Berlin embassies.

    Granted, it would be comically absurd for Germany not to include the French in their counterintelligence actions, so, on one level, the French can’t be surprised. But, on another level, they must be at least a little surprised by this announcement. What on earth did France have to do with this latest spy scandal?

    At the same time, we have to wonder what other countries just got added to the “we’re watching you watching us” list because Germany’s interior minister called for “360-degree surveillance” of all intelligence-gathering operations in Germany. Does that now include all of Germany’s allies? Maybe the US, UK, and France were the only countries in the world that previously had this alleged “no-counter-spy” German arrangement and now every country is official on the list? Who knows at this point. So, it’s a little surprising to see France on this list, but it’s mostly just comical.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 8, 2014, 1:56 pm
  5. Did the Five Eyes hack Deutsche Telekom and did the BND know about it? Germany investigators want to know:

    Bloomberg Businessweek
    German Panel to Question Executives Over NSA Spy Report
    By Patrick Donahue, Cornelius Rahn and Naomi Kresge September 14, 2014

    German parliamentary investigators plan to question executives of telecommunications operators about reports that U.S. and U.K. intelligence gained direct access to networks of companies including Deutsche Telekom AG. (DTE)

    Managers of network providers since 2001 will be asked to testify because the reported acts, if confirmed, would constitute statutory offenses, said Christian Flisek, a Social Democratic lawmaker who sits on the parliamentary investigative committee in the lower house. Roderich Kiesewetter, a committee member from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said the reports have to be taken “very seriously.”

    The U.S. National Security Agency and its U.K. counterpart GCHQ targeted German providers as part of an effort to peer into computers and mobile devices all over the world, Der Spiegel reported Sept. 13, citing documents provided by Edward Snowden. Both Deutsche Telekom and regional provider NetCologne said they hadn’t found any evidence that their networks were manipulated.

    “If this turns out to be true, then this is certainly a new dimension,” lawmaker Konstantin von Notz said in an interview today. “It shows that Merkel’s foundational principle, that foreign security services have to conform to German law on German soil, doesn’t work at all. We would be naive to think that German counterintelligence didn’t know this sort of thing was going.

    The agencies conducted an NSA operation called Treasure Map, which sought close to real-time access to individual routers as well as computers, smartphones and tablets connected to the Internet, “mapping the entire Internet,” Spiegel reported. The New York Times reported the existence of Treasure Map last year.

    Leaked Graphic

    Deutsche Telekom and NetCologne were marked on a leaked graphic with red dots, indicating surveillance access points, Spiegel reported.

    In a video published by The Intercept, executives from Huerth, Germany-based satellite communications company Stellar PCS GmbH were able to identify their names, roles and servers on the leaked documents, which specified surveillance targets.

    A spokeswoman for the NSA declined to comment on “any alleged, specific foreign intelligence activities.” In an e-mailed statement yesterday, Vanee Vines said the agency “collects only those communications that we are authorized by law to collect for valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes.”

    GCHQ, in Cheltenham, England, took a similar stance in responding. An e-mail from an unidentified agency official yesterday didn’t comment on the Der Spiegel report, while saying that GCHQ’s work “is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight” by other government officials.

    A German government spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted by phone today.

    Network Review

    Deutsche Telekom, in an e-mailed statement, said it has informed German authorities and is reviewing its networks with external information-technology experts.

    “So far we have no more than a colored curl around the label of part of our networks in a Snowden document,” Deutsche Telekom said. “Nonetheless we take the indications seriously and have involved German security authorities. Access to our network by foreign secret services would be absolutely intolerable.”
    The CDU’s Kiesewetter repeated his call on Snowden to speak with investigative committee members in Moscow. Snowden this year rejected through his lawyer a request by the parliamentary committee to question the leaker in Russia. Opposition members have insisted that Snowden must be given free passage to testify in front of the committee in Berlin.

    Snowden Discussion

    “It’s all the more important for Snowden finally to put a stop to his resistance and to have a discussion with the investigative committee outside of Germany,” Kiesewetter said.

    Tensions over U.S. spying in Germany escalated this year amid disclosures including the alleged hacking of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone. Germany asked the Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief in Berlin to leave in July as a result of two spying cases.

    Keep in mind that Deutshce Telekom is planning on developing NSA-proof services so it’ll be interesting to see if this story flares up like the Merkel phone scandal or just quietly goes away. There’s a bit of a “brand” issue involved. It’ll also be interesting to learn whether or not the Five Eyes was willing to share intelligence on German citizens with the BND that the BND couldn’t legally collect on its own (as is the standard procedure for governments these days for legally spying on their own citizens). According to one German official the following report, the CIA hasn’t always particularly forthcoming about the intelligence it collected on, say, Indonesia, even though the BND would share its intel on Central Europe. So would the CIA share its intel on German citizens with the BND if that was requested?:

    Newsweek
    Germany’s Spy Agency Is Ready To Shake Off Its Second Tier Reputation
    By Elisabeth Braw
    Filed: 8/5/14 at 10:04 AM | Updated: 8/5/14 at 10:32 AM

    “In the CIA people view liaison relationships as a pain in the ass but necessary,” says Valerie Plame, the CIA undercover agent whose identity was infamously disclosed by aides to President George W Bush soon after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Liaison relationships are the CIA’s term for cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies, and, given that not even the world’s mightiest spy outfit can go anywhere it likes, the CIA maintains plenty of such liaisons.

    That includes the decades-long collaboration with Germany’s BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), which was recently dented in a spectacular fashion when the CIA apparently decided that waiting for the BND to deliver information was too laborious and so put one of the BND’s own agents on its payroll. In fact, after having established a remarkable degree of closeness due to the shared threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destructions, espionage relations between allies are taking a sharper turn.

    Keep in mind that the BND agent found on the CIA’s payroll reportedly approached the CIA on his own in 2012. So it wasn’t exactly the case that the CIA actively recruited the guy.

    Continuing…


    Thanks to joint efforts fighting terrorists, Nato intelligence agencies are closer than they were during the Cold War,” says the director of a Central European intelligence agency. “But right now politics and countries’ different goals are creating barriers. That impacts intelligence agencies as well.” In order to be able to speak more frankly, the director asked that his name and country not be identified.

    Nigel Inkster, a former MI6 agent who also served as the agency’s Assistant Chief and Director for Operations and Intelligence, adds “There’s been an erosion of cooperation between Nato allies with regards to Russia. Germany and Italy in particular have become much more economically dependent on Russia.”

    A recently retired top BND official, who also asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter says, “We’ve always said [to the Americans], ‘up to here but no farther’. Now they’ve crossed that line.” In response, Germany has expelled the CIA’s station chief. Some German politicians, having found that the NSA monitored their phones, are now using encrypted ones.

    Still, the BND and its boss the German government were incensed to find that the CIA had signed up one of its own agents. “Despite a lot of intelligence-gathering now being possible through electronic interception recruiting sources, recruiting sources is a priority for intelligence agencies,” notes the BND official. “But in recruiting sources from a friendly agency, the CIA crossed a red line.” When Helmut Kohl and George H W Bush led their respective countries, says the official, who was posted in Washington for several years, the BND had good access to the CIA. “But that’s not the case anymore,” he adds.

    Friendly though relations may have been in past years, the CIA never considered the BND an equal, a fact the German official readily acknowledges. “[In the 1990s] the CIA even told us, ‘you’re not in our league’,” he explains. “When they wanted something about Central Europe, they asked us, but if we asked them about, say, Indonesia, they said, ‘what concern is that of yours?’”

    As German lawmaker Konstantin von Notz said above, “We would be naive to think that German counterintelligence didn’t know this sort of thing was going.” So would we also be naive to assume that the BND wasn’t asking the Five Eyes pesky unconstitutional questions about what is known about German citizens of interest? This is pretty standard for intelligence agencies with close working relationships so it wouldn’t be surprising if it was the case but it would certainly be of interest to the German public. Maybe that could be investigated too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 14, 2014, 9:15 pm

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