World tensions over excess U.S. surveillance of everyone around the globe escalated today as German demanded an immediate clarification from the U.S. Ambassador after a man arrested for spying said he worked for the United States. Alison Smale of The New York Times reports the details in her article German Accused of Passing Secrets, and Fingers Point at U.S..
BERLIN — In the latest turn in the yearlong tensions with Germany over American spying, a 31-year-old German man was arrested this week on suspicion of passing secret documents to a foreign power that appeared to be the United States, and the American ambassador was called in to the Foreign Office here and urged to help with what German officials called a “swift clarification” of the case.
The arrest came just as Washington and Berlin were trying to put to rest a year of strains over the National Security Agency’s monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone, and just months after an effort by Germany to strike a “no spy” accord with the White House collapsed.
While the White House and American intelligence officials refused to comment on the arrest, one senior American official said that the reports in the German news media that the man under arrest had been working for the United States for at least two years “threaten to undo all the repair work” the two sides have been trying to achieve
The man was originally arrested for begin a spy for the Russians, but the main said he has been working for the U.S., which might be exactly what we'd expect a Russian spy to say. With U.S. credibility with regard to global intelligence in tatters, that line of defense is probably not going to get very far.
The German Parliament is already investigating allegations that our NSA tapped the phones of top German government and corporate officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
Poignantly Chancellor Merkel was informed of this Thusday morning just before her conversation with President Obama as both parties are working to repair the damages done by our out-of-control intelligence agencies.
The White House did not say if this topic came up and the CIA and NSA were not available to say what their wiretaps indicate about the content of the conversation. (Snark alert.)
Recently, we also learned the NSA has been using the DEA as a cover to tap the telephones of top government and corporate officials in Latin America.
After 9/11, our U.S. intelligence philosophy seems to be that any conversation occurring around the world that is not monitored by the N.S.A. could represent a threat to our national security. What if someone talked about a terrorist act and we didn't spy on it? Would you want the potential loss of a major American city to a terrorist nuclear bomb on your conscious?
Any privacy by anyone anywhere could be a national security threat. Remember, "untapped lips, sinks ships." We could solve all of this is everyone in world would just agree to let the NSA install a RTFF dental implant in their front teeth at birth, so all of your conversations could be recorded and stored, for future reference. (Snark alert.)
Both the CIA and NSA refused to comment on these allegations, for real.
5:01 PM PT: oops. I had "written out" the last two paragraphs of the original version and then forget to erase them. Sorry that the first draft of this post went out with five paragraphs rather than three from The New York Times. I got distracted when I was checking the Recent Posts, and only now got back.
5:42 PM PT: Thanks to TranslatorPro for bringing us the following link to The Guardian
However, under questioning by the federal prosecutor the suspect said he had received money in exchange for passing on secret information to a US contact. If his claims turn out to be true, German papers say it would constitute the biggest scandal involving a US-German double agent in the post-war era.
According to Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, the employee had been approached several times by the NSA, at least once with a specific request for information on the Bundestag's investigation into NSA surveillance.According to Der Spiegel, the BND staffer had collected between 200 and 300 secret documents from internal servers and saved them onto a USB stick.
They were sold on to the US intelligence services between 2012 and 2014, for price of several tens of thousands of euros, said the magazine. The employee had managed to establish contact with the NSA by the most obvious way imaginable – by sending an email to the US embassy.On Friday, the investigative committee gathered for an emergency meeting in response to the arrest. Martina Renner, a Left party politician on the parliamentary committee, told Associated Press that the case indicated that anyone who examined Snowden's revelations in detail was subject to scrutiny by US intelligence agencies.
News of the double-spying allegations come less than a day after two former NSA employees spoke as witnesses to the Bundestag inquiry. William Binney, a former technical head, said the NSA had a "totalitarian mentality", claiming that it represented the "greatest threat" to American society since the civil war.
I'm shocked, kogs, shocked, to discover foreign nations spying on us! On behalf, of the privacy respecting nations let me be the first to demand an "immediate clarification" from the Germans for this affront to international respect, (Snark alert.)