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[liberationtech] Hey, does the NSA own Germany? Because that would be bad.

Kate Krauss katiephr at gmail.com
Wed Sep 16 18:59:19 PDT 2015


Hi Liberation Tech,

I visited a German hacker conference recently, and it gradually became
clear to me in talking to privacy advocates that the NSA has a very
unhealthy relationship with German intelligence.

​
​It seems that the NSA is colluding with German intelligence agencies (the
BND and others) to spy on German politicians, journalists, and citizens.

An inquiry committee of the German Parliament is in the midst of a major
investigation to
​ get to the bottom of this​
. It’s also trying to learn whether the US is planning illegal drone
strikes
​from German soil. And tapping the Internet directly in Munich to send data
about Germans directly to the NSA.
There are even allegations that German intelligence agencies are exchanging
citizens’ personal data for expensive surveillance equipment paid for by
the NSA
​. And the roof of the US embassy in Berlin seems to be an NSA listening
post (I guess that's not unusual). Then there's the undersea cable.

The Germans working on this investigation in Parliament are frustrated that
news about it isn’t really reaching the international community.  ​


Spy agencies for the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia may also be
involved (FVEY). But the NSA is by far the best funded and most powerful
among them—Edward Snowden revealed that the US intelligence budget was $52
billion in 2013.

The central issue, however, is whether Germany, in bowing to the requests
of the NSA, could be gradually turning over its independence to the United
States. This is an outrageous claim—but if you let a foreign government spy
on your head of government, Chancellor Merkel, and members of
​your ​
Parliament, and you intimidate German journalists who try to cover the
story (two were recently investigated for treason)—at what point does that
cross a bright line? And if the US has co-opted Germany, one of the most
powerful countries in Europe—which other less powerful countries does it
own, right now, in secret?

A tiny group of interested Germans and Americans has launched a web site
(GermanTransparency.org) and a
​Twitter account (@GermanInq) to track this investigation and share
information about it with English-speaking journalists, activists, and
technologists.

Please read the blog post and news reports on the web site, and follow us
on Twitter. The next hearings of this inquiry committee will be held in
Berlin on September 2
​4, so you have a few days to get up to speed. Berlin is six hours ahead of
New York. The hashtag for the inquiry is #GermanInq.

Thanks,

Kate Krauss
​for GermanTransparency.org
@GermanInq​
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