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May 20, 2022

Germany/Europe vs. USA? (II)

Coming to the American side, there are few things worth mentioning in relation to this scandal. First, the espionage activity has been conducted by American official organization with the agreement of the German government ever since the ‘50s of last century and equally targeted the action of intelligence services of communist states on German soil, and the moves and actions of the diplomats of these countries accredited in Germany. And this activity was based on a large cooperation with the German side. When the two German states reunited in the early ‘90s, things took a different path. American espionage continued its old operations, while also adding on its agenda a new strategic action, which is gathering intelligence on Germany’s economic relations with states of interest for the USA, such as Russia, Iran, China etc.

The implementation of this new direction rapidly sparked political difficulties in the bilateral relations, with another head of the CIA residence being the target of demands to leave the country in the early 2000’s, but the Berlin government opposed. This is the historic dossier, in brief.
But what happened now, when a sensitive boundary in the political relations was trespassed, and even the alliance relations of the two great powers are at doubt?
These weeks, two high dignitaries of the German state have been arrested in Germany. One of them, working with the Ministry of Defense, confessed that he sold German classified documents to American ‘controllers,’ including some papers related to the probe recently conducted by Germany into the Snowden case.
For the more than 200 documents delivered to the Americans, the dignitary received some money. But the last straw for German authorities was the arrest on July 2 of the second suspect, himself a high official of the Defense Ministry, who was being kept under surveillance by the German counterespionage since 2010, as he was suspected of having relations with the Russian intelligence. Quoting undisclosed official sources, the American press accredits the idea that the present episode is closely related to the CIA effort of unveiling “Russian intelligence activities, foreign terrorist groups and Iranian technology procurement” (“Daily Beast”, 12 July 2014). According to the same sources (former and current experts of the CIA):  “We have had very serious problems with their/German / counter-intelligence over the years… In counter-terrorism and in other areas they some times have problems that are bigger than they acknowledge to themselves… We always worried that they had moles working for the Soviets and later the Russians.”
The English press had accesses of inflammation after the aforementioned event. Among the sources of this inflammation there is also Germany’s attitude to the attempts by London to change the EU in line with its own interests, as well as an Anglo-Saxon solidarity with solid historic tradition. In “The Telegraph” Con Coughlin runs an article abruptly named “We spy on the Germans because we cannot trust them” (11 July 2014), which was largely commented by readers. The author cites among the sources of this mistrust toward Germany the behavior of Berlin in the Ukrainian crisis. “Nor is this the first time that Berlin has pulled in a different direction from the rest of the Western alliance,” wrote the author. Another British expert (Gideon Rachman in “Financial Times-14 July) seems inclined to believe that the recent episode equally points to the tendency of German public opinion to prefer a policy “of equal distance between Russia and the western alliance than opt for a pro-west strategy”, which alerted the Atlantic-inclined establishment in Berlin and Germany’s eastern neighbors, fearful that it might get close to Russia.
Is Germany about to change its political azimuth and take Europe with it?

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