German Intelligence Leak
Spying on Thee, But Not on Me

The German government complained about the NSA’s spying on Chancellor Merkel in 2014, but leaks to the German press suggest it may have been helping the NSA do the same thing to other European nations at the same time. The BBC reports:

The leaks from a secret BND report suggest that its monitoring station at Bad Aibling spied on France’s presidential palace and foreign ministry, and the European Commission. […]

The BND reportedly collected information on European firms at Washington’s behest to check if they were breaking trade embargos.

The hypocrisy is rife: not only does the leak come almost a year after outrage over U.S. spying on Germany led the German government to expel a CIA official, but the German parliamentary inquiry into the matter was been so overheated and over-broad that another major European ally, the British, had to threaten to stop sharing intelligence with Berlin to get it to back down.

German pieties, mainly among the public though sometimes also among their leaders, about spying tout court (as opposed to spying on innocent civilians) always seemed somewhere between naive and self-righteous given security threats ranging from ISIS to a resurgent Russia. Now that Berlin is beginning to get serious about defense, and with the secret out about its own spying, maybe we’ll see a new, more balanced tone in German public discourse.

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