Despite Public Condemnation, Germany Has A Tight Relationship With THE NSA

PIC; NSA (PD)

PIC; NSA (PD)

I hope that it comes as no surprise you that many of the world’s governments are carrying on passionate love affairs with the NSA even as they publicly condemn the agency. Disinfonauts probably knew as much already, but there are still a few people out there who think that their own nation is above such things. Maybe they’re right in that their government doesn’t run their own NSA-like program, but they might as well be doing so given the intimate nature of their relationships with the agency. Their public hypocrisy remind me of technical virgins: (Link goes to TVtropes.com. See you in a few hours.) young people who feel comfortable claiming that they’re sexually “pure” as long as Tab P doesn’t go into Slot V.

The NSA might not have gotten their Tab into Germany’s slot V, but it looks like everything else has been on the table for a long time. They’re tight enough that they’ll cooperate together to swipe evidence of NSA tampering when needed:

Via Der Spiegel:

Three months before Edward Snowden shocked the world with his revelations, members of NSA’s “Special Source Operations department” sat down for a weekly meeting at their headquarters in the US state of Maryland. The group, considered internally to be particularly efficient, has several tasks, one of which is overseeing the intelligence agency’s delicate relationship with large telecommunications firms. It is the department that Snowden referred to as the “crown jewels” of the NSA.

At this particular meeting, one significant slip-up was on the meeting agenda. On March 14, 2013, an SSO member had reported a potentially damaging incident. “Commercial consortium personnel” had apparently discovered the program “Wharpdrive,” for which SSO had tapped a fiber-optic cable. “Witting partner personnel have removed the evidence,” he explained further, “and a plausible cover story was provided.” According to an internal NSA document to which SPIEGEL has access, a team was quietly put together to to reinstall the program.

The NSA, apparently, did not perform the highly sensitive operation on its own. All signs indicate that the agency had help from Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the country’s foreign intelligence agency. The code name Wharpdrive appears in a paper drafted in preparation for a BND delegation’s visit to NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, and which instructs NSA leaders to “thank the BND for their assistance with the trilateral program.” It also makes clear that the German agency plays a leadership role in the Wharpdrive program, with the NSA providing only technical assistance.

It isn’t clear from the document exactly where the BND and NSA accessed the fiber-optic cable nor is there any indication of the operation’s target. Neither agency responded to questions about Wharpdrive. What appears obvious, however, is that the BND cooperates closely with NSA in one of its most sensitive areas of operation.

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  • BuzzCoastin

    the spys of every kuntery
    are a secretive secret society
    so that even the sponsoring gruberment overlords
    don’t really know the secret score
    and the paranoid spys spy on their overlords too
    and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    got caught in perpetual snoop loop

  • sveltesvengali

    Everything, even transnational grievances, tend to be dog-and-pony shows on some level. For instance, Russia and Britain might play the blame game regarding Alexander Litvinenko’s death, but, at the end of the day, neither wants any real progress on an inquest into the circumstances behind it for whatever reason (and I personally suspect that has something to do with the heroin-smuggling ring he uncovered, diplomacy notwithstanding).

    The same holds true here. Though it may be (and indeed probably is) the case that Germany’s intelligence apparatus is as unaccountable to its chancellorship as the NSA, the CIA, et. al. apparently are to our presidency, I still believe it is reasonable to speculate that Angela Merkel only really cares about the NSA’s activities for the same reason Dianne Feinstein has suddenly started caring about them: they didn’t merely relegate their surveillance activities to the broader public, but extended them to the privileged political class that they compose.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    God, I would love to meet the German who believes his country is above this.

    • sveltesvengali

      Ironically, they would probably be the same type of German that stares in reproach at the Gestapo of the past.

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