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After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart 219

Posted by timothy
from the wir-werden-wissen dept.
The Washington Post reports that Gemany's government has asked the CIA station chief in that country to leave. From the article, which points out the move comes after several high-profile instances of U.S. spying on German citiens, including Chancellor Angela Merkl:. "A day earlier, federal prosecutors in Germany said police had searched the office and apartment of an individual with ties to the German military who is suspected of working for U.S. intelligence. Those raids followed the arrest of an employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence service who was accused of selling secrets to the CIA. ... For years, Germany has sought to be included in a group of countries with which the United States has a non-espionage pact. Those nations include Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The Obama administration and that of George W. Bush both resisted such entreaties, in part because many U.S. intelligence officials believe that there are too many areas where German and U.S. security interests diverge."
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After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

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  • Why (Score:5, Funny)

    by rock56501 (1301287) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:00PM (#47426559)
    Why didn't we steal something useful, like their plans/strategy for world cup?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Head coach of USMNT is Jürgen Klinsmann, a German national. If anyone had access to the secrets of the World Cup, he had it. And why was the NSA not spying on him to help confirm his loyalty to the US on this important matter?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by torsmo (1301691)
        I get a feeling that overt nationalism is quite frowned upon in Germany. I have had a few German colleagues in the past who refused to even sing their national anthem. So while it is reasonably correct to assume that Germans are loyal to they own country, I don't think national pride would come in the way of Klinsmann's professionalism.
        • Re:Why (Score:5, Informative)

          by erikkemperman (252014) on Friday July 11, 2014 @06:12AM (#47429973)

          This is true for most of Western Europe, I would say. I'm not sure if it is actually reasonable, but very explicit nationalism still triggers memories of certain regrettable events in our not-that-distant past. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say many Europeans find the amount of flag-waving and anthem-singing that's on display in the US frankly shocking.

          • Some of us think that nationalism is a sign of immaturity. To think that because you happened to be born on the same land-mass as a bunch of other people, makes you somehow special, is just ridiculous.
          • This is especially true for Germany, to a lesser extent Spain and France. Not true at all for Italy.
            Italians love waving their flag around and displaying it on clothing, almost as much as Americans.

      • by rioki (1328185)

        In addition Jürgen Klinsmann was the head coach of the German national team. He brought a good part of the current top players together. The current coach (Joachim Löw) worked under Kliensmann. Löw basically learned his chops under Klinsmann and as such there was little the NSA could have found out that Kleinsmann did not yet know. A testament to the knowledge and talent of Kliensmann is the fact that the US team got so far. (2:1 against Germany is not bad either.)

        • Not only Klinsmann, but the US players wokred incredibly hard.

          As a disappointed England supporter, I wish that our team had put in even half the effort of the US team. It especially annoyed me when they put in a lack-lustre performance in their third match because they were already out - if you're a professional footballer (soccerer) and you're playing for your country at the world cup, I don't understand how you can not be excited and thrilled to show your mettle.
    • You may or may not have noticed that the US press hasn't mentioned the name of the departing CIA Station Chief, but they haven't. Why not? Because it's A Secret! The Germans know who they're kicking out, but the US press goes along with the pretense that it's secret, and other people he might spy on in the future won't know he's a spy, and people who he's hung out with in the past might be exposed as having been spies too. In some cases it's illegal for US government officials to reveal the names of spi

      • like Scooter Libby outing Valerie Plame
        You misspelled Richard Armitage. Btw, no one was convicted of outing Valerie Plame, Scooter was convicted of lying to investigators, and his prison sentence was commuted, not pardoned.
  • So, what's the end game here, for Germany?

    And why chastise the US publicly when you could manipulate them through false information instead?

    What are the implications here?

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      The endgame is for individual politicials and political parties to distance themselves from their cooperation with US intelligence sharing programs in the eyes of their voters.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Germany wants its own gov staff back. Germany wants its own trade deals in private. Germany wants its science and banking back. Germany wants its telco sector back. Germany wants its staff to be good Germans, not more loyal to "Five Eyes" plus other nations every working day. Germany wants its own domestic and foreign policy back from the US and UK.
      Setting up 'manipulate them through false information instead?" is tricky as West Germany found out. If the staff around your top political leaders work
      • Germany wants its own trade deals in private.

        While you can negotiate a trade deal privately, it's pretty much impossible to operate one privately. After all, at least one other country has to know the details, and most (if not all) of the economic effects are easily detectable....

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        So they're leaving the EU?

        Seems unlikely.

    • To get (re-)elected.
      Unlike America, other countries have a meaningful choice when it comes to who they give their vote to. Politicians know this.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:26PM (#47426715)

    The Obama administration and that of George W. Bush both resisted such entreaties, in part because many U.S. intelligence officials believe that there are too many areas where German and U.S. security interests diverge."

    How about getting rid of that United States base in Germany? A move like this would be in the right direction.

    Did I mention that Slashdot should at least try getting world leaders' name spellings correct? Anyone also sees this unfortunate Merkl spelling in the introductory piece>?

    • Not going to happen. The US bases bring in a lot of money to Germany. Also, the Germans are in on it too. This is just a dog and pony show to pretend they're doing something about spying.
      • Not going to happen. The US bases bring in a lot of money to Germany. Also, the Germans are in on it too. This is just a dog and pony show to pretend they're doing something about spying.

        It's a tad more than that. These agreements are NOT equal. Germany knows there's nothing they can do about the US spying so they try to co-operate to avoid being targeted themselves. But really it's kind of an Uncle Tom situation, they thought they'd found a way into the house, but really they're getting whipped in the end just as bad as everyone else.

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      Germans would riot (literally) if the US planned to close the base. It is a huge source of jobs, jobs that would otherwise go to US contractors but instead go to local German contractors.

      In the past when there were plans of reducing the size of the base, they protested strongly and got us to change the plans.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Re Germans would riot (literally) if the US planned to close the base. It is a huge source of jobs, jobs that would otherwise go to US contractors but instead go to local German contractors.
        UK and US sites have closed. The locals are unhappy but decades later an understanding of what been occupied is really all about is emerging.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:26PM (#47426721)

    When the Germans discovered that the NSA had bugged Angela Merkel's phone, Obama kinda sorta said, "sorry", and it looked like the whole matter would have been forgotten. I would have thought that Obama would have told his spooks to lay off for a while. But instead, it seems that he has racketed up the spying on Germany.

    Can someone tell me what Obama is trying to achieve by this? I mean, there must be some purpose behind all this. I just can't figure it out.

    • by Maltheus (248271) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:28PM (#47426751)

      When Germany rolled over the first time, it was an invitation for more. Same is true here with the American people.

    • by Aighearach (97333) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @05:30PM (#47427291) Homepage

      You may not know this, but the President of the United States doesn't have an office in the NSA, and doesn't have direct access to their leadership or decision-making.

      So no, Obama isn't trying to achieve anything, as it is somebody else doing it.

      Being able to fire the person at the top gives limited control in certain types of circumstances. In a regular business it means you have a lot of control over a department. But even a large corporation, you might not be able to succeed at getting things done the way you want just by firing department heads; and there is a cost to morale in attempting it.

      In the case of Government, the workers are the same under one President and the next, and they can drag their feet and wait-out a President who tries to micro-manage them. But also, appointing department heads for a President is a political act, it has real cost, and if you try to do it with a weak hand then Congress will win that battle. Also, the departments have entrenched support from Congress-critters that have been in place longer than the President and will be in place after his terms expire.

      You just can't use a small-business-owner model of Control to understand the powers of the President here. He's the one that has to explain the policies to the people, but in Intelligence and Law Enforcement, Congress has erected barriers to direct Presidential control. People often imagine that the President can just walk into any department and look at anything and order anybody around, but actually he's not a dictator, and can only move the levers of power that are provided.

      • by Dorianny (1847922)
        Like all large organizations, bureaucracies are hard to change and are resistant to political direction, which makes them difficult to control from the executive, but a determined and capable president can ultimately impose his will on them.
      • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Friday July 11, 2014 @07:44AM (#47430189)

        You may not know this, but the President of the United States doesn't have an office in the NSA, and doesn't have direct access to their leadership or decision-making.

        Actually, he DOES have direct access to their leadership and decision-making. He's the PRESIDENT!

        All he needs to do is pick up his phone and call the NSA Director, tell him to get his ass over to the White House RIGHT NOW, and, lo, the NSA Director will be heading toward the White House.

        Then he tells the NSA Director words to the effect of "Stop this shit, right the F**k now!", and lo, it will be stopped.

        And if that doesn't work, there's the "Fire him, right now" option. Like when Truman fired MacArthur back in the day.

        Remember, he's the President. Head of the Executive Branch. Which includes both CIA and NSA. They all work for HIM, not the other way around.

        The fact that this is still going on does not show a lack of power on the part of Obama, it shows agreement with this on the part of Obama.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:28PM (#47426743) Journal

    Retaliation for Spying: Germany Asks CIA Official to Leave Country [spiegel.de]

    Initially, there had been talk of a formal expulsion of the CIA employee, who is officially accredited as the so-called chief of station and is responsible for the US intelligence service's activities in Germany. A short time later, the government backpedalled and said it had only recommended that he leave. Although it cannot be compared with a formal explusion, it remains an unfriendly gesture.

    On a diplomatic level, it is no less than an earthquake and represents a measure that until Thursday would have only been implemented against pariah states like North Korea or Iran. It also underscores just how deep tensions have grown between Berlin and Washington over the spying affair.

    The USA's response has been something along the lines of "you expected us not to conducting traditional spying activities?"

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Aighearach (97333)

      I'd prefer a more proactive response, maybe carry around a bunch of WWII concentration camp photos and wave those around whenever the Germans complain about "spying."

      No they shouldn't be punished forever, but we probably should keep an eye on them forever.

      • by Dorianny (1847922) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @08:00PM (#47428289) Journal

        I'd prefer a more proactive response, maybe carry around a bunch of WWII concentration camp photos and wave those around whenever the Germans complain about "spying."

        No they shouldn't be punished forever, but we probably should keep an eye on them forever.

        Their history with the Nazi state and the Gestapo secret police is exactly why Germans are so bothered by spying. They know for a fact that gathered information can easily be put to nefarious use.

      • by Uberbah (647458)

        No they shouldn't be punished forever, but we probably should keep an eye on them forever.

        So who do you suggest should keep an eye on the United States, for it's history of genocide, slavery, imperialism, and overthrowing democratically elected governments? You'd need quite a team for that job.

      • by Sique (173459) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:16AM (#47429531) Homepage
        Germany had three regimes following each other which thought that wholesale spying on the population somehow keeps things in check. And the result was two World Wars and the breakdown of all three regimes.

        The U.S. believes that spying on the whole world somehow gives them early warnings, and they managed to completely miss the Korean War, the German Wall, the Cuba Crisis, the reconquest of South Vietnam by the Vietcong, the end of the Somoza Regime in Nicaragua, the polish Solidarnosc, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the subsequent dissolution first of nearly all communist regimes and then the Soviet Union, the conquest of Kuwait by Iraq, 9/11, Somalia, the Arabian Spring, the turning of the Arabian Spring into a strengthening of the extreme wahhabitian Islam, the ISIL conquest of North West Iraq, the annection of Crimea, and the pro-russian uprising in the eastern Ukraine.

        But they were pretty sure they find Weapons of Mass Destruction in post Gulf War Iraq.

        Somehow the whole spying does not yield the expected results. I wonder if still more spying and mass surveillance will solve this. And more IT infrastructure to dig through the data. And still more money to pay more analysts. And do everything to weaken any attempt to make communication secure.

    • by Dorianny (1847922)

      The USA's response has been something along the lines of "you expected us not to conducting traditional spying activities?"

      The USA rejected the proposed no spy agreement so the response is more along the lines of: We do not fully trust you and we will keep on spying on you not matter how much it annoys you.

    • by Uberbah (647458)

      The USA's response has been something along the lines of "you expected us not to conducting traditional spying activities?"

      There's nothing "traditional" about the depth, pervasiveness, or reach of the USG's spying. If it's anything like military spending, the U.S. spends more than the rest of the planet combined.

  • by boorack (1345877) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:39PM (#47426831)

    Most of European countries used to be vassals to US and if US spies were found, Europeans used to sweep such fiascos under the rug. This is changing now. My suspicion is that this is related to strong arm tactics of US government (if not outright bullying, eg. ACTA, now TISA, BNP Paribas etc.) and other fiascos (NSA, and now all this Ukraine/Russia fiasco, caused almost entirely by US neocons). My feeling is that European countries are now in the process of breaking out from strong US influence as they recognized USofA is actually not their friend. Russia might also be involved, assisting core EU countries in delicate path of reducing their political subordination to Washington. Note that France is also increasingly defying Washington orders (Mistral contract) despite of heavy bullying (BNP Paribas case), with top french politicians and central bankers talking openly about getting rid of dollar in international trade. Great Britain and Poland are the only countries trying to wreak as much havoc as possible in this process. Should this process go on for a while, it would force USofA to abandon its imperial project, reform itself and start behaving like ordinary country which would be good thing for everyone, especially Arabs/Ukrainians and ordinary Americans themselves.

    This is much more than just simple spy flap story.

    • by 32771 (906153)

      Given that we may be nearing some energy crisis you could think about what it might cause. Looking for it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
      you can find talk about decentralization which means a break up of a system into smaller units. I think this is what might be happening, Europe is basically used up having an aging populace and diminishing resources, whereas Asia has lots of young people and some ambition to get their hands on resources. Since there have been signs in the past that energy demand ha

  • You just outed our spies in your network and you expect us to sign a no-spy list? Come again when we have undermined your security enough that you're as safe as the other countries we pretty much already own.

    In other words, we'll only not spy on you if you hand over what we want willingly.

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      Wouldn't the existance of spies be the reason for a "no-spy list?" I mean if you're not spying on each other anyways, then why waste time and money negotiating that? Seems to be a required precondition.

      This proves the status quo is spying, therefore the premise of a no-spy list is valid.

    • by Livius (318358)

      The "countries with which the United States has a non-espionage pact" don't spy on the US. It's a one-side agreement, like most treaties with the US are in practice.

      • Well, that's what the US thinks...

        A non-spy pact with a country as paranoid as the US is like a no-kill pact with a homicidal maniac.

  • I Spy.... (Score:2, Informative)

    Without generating some type of comparison chart, I Googled multiple variations of who spies on who. Spies caught, spy agencies....etc.
    And the winner of my informal who spies upon whom poll......Somalia! With no official Government they have no official spy agency.
    Don't want to be spied on by your government you live under, this appears to be the place.
    it seems that every modern country has been caught in some capacity.
    (This was not a thorough nor proper search, just an hour of casual searching, so I know s
    • Yeah, Somalia has a 'recognized' government, but it is almost completely ineffectual.
    • by rastos1 (601318)

      Most countries do have spy agencies. And they often do have some reasons for that. But do they spy on their allies? Do they spy on general public? Care to to link some info about countries that do the spying and that are not in G8 and are not China or Korea?

      Sure, you were joking. But you are just trying to show that "everybody does it". The point is not only that that is not an excuse. The point is that it is not even remotely true.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @07:19PM (#47428069) Journal

    ...seems to be doing everything in their power to push Germany to be a regional power that DOESN'T NEED OR WANT the US.

    Is that the greatest idea?

  • Now if only... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday July 10, 2014 @07:40PM (#47428181)

    ... we in the USA could also tell the CIA to GTFO.

  • . ..because Germany has not allowed the Google mapping cars to traverse their entire countryside? Yea, I know there is more to this than that, but seriously, check it out...

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