This past Thursday an article ran in Der Spiegel, Germany’s most prominent newspaper, that provided evidence that Germany’s Intelligence Office, the BND, had spied on the United States for years. According to the report, the BND monitored phones, emails, faxes with the United States government and military from 1998 to 2006. This is not to suggest the spying stopped in 2006 but that the documents provided were only to 2006. They established 4000 keyword selectors which would monitor all our communications and intelligence.
This breaking story comes as there is increased tension among western allies regarding espionage. In 2013 the Edward Snowden files exposed that the Obama Administration had been monitoring Germany’s Chancellor Angel Merkel’s phone. To make matters even more complex, following Merkel’s unsurprising hand-wringing about America’s acts of espionage, it was discovered that Merkel’s BND worked with the NSA to spy on over a dozen EU members. Needless to say, the other nations were not pleased.
This really does not come as a surprise to me. Nations, including allied nations, have been spying on each other for centuries. Don’t kid yourself, we have CIA and NSA agents in basically every nation around the world.
The point of espionage is not always picking up secrets, its mostly about verifying the authenticity to policy overtures of other nations. We, and just about every other nation on Earth, mostly just want an unfiltered view into the goings-on of other nations to ensure our national security is protected.
We and Germany are not the only ones playing the spy game. For decades, we played cat and mouse with intelligence agents of the KGB running around DC. We too had spies roaming the streets of the Soviet Union. We were spying on them, they were spying on us, we both knew about it and we just minimized the exposure. Germany and other nations are no different.
However, if Germany and other allied nations have been keeping tabs on us, what secrets have they uncovered? It’s no secret they don’t like Trump, are they involved with the leaks going on in his administration? This is highly unlikely but possible. Are they using American intel to increase their own holdings on the European Union?
These are valid questions but I raise another: how long ago did Germany access Hillary Clinton’s unsecured emails?
We all know that Clinton used a private server to conduct the affairs of state and possibly other affairs that we are unaware of due to the obvious lack of oversight. This server was only mildly secure and easy for any professional Intelligence Agency to crack.
So, the question is: did Germany breech it and if so, why haven’t they exposed the contents? Are there back-alley deals between us and them regarding this information? Did they have it, but sit on it in order not to hurt Clinton’s candidacy? Intelligence Agencies are trained to find weak points and patterns in foreign entities and try to glean relevant information to their nation’s interests. It is likely that every spy agency from Moscow to Micronesia has the content of Clinton’s emails. All except, somehow, our own investigative groups.
Editor’s note: As a former intelligence officer, I can tell you that every country spies on every country (with a tiny number of exceptions). The real change here is that spying efforts, instead of being handled quietly, are being leaked to the media, exposed and commented upon by leadership. Merkel made a big deal out of the U.S. spying on them. Now, because of her lack of discretion back then, she has egg on her face. But that is all it is, a temporary embarrassment, no real fall out.
But in my mind Germany certainly had access to Hillary’s email. Hillary was a big target for anyone (the number two intelligence target IN THE WORLD behind only her boss Barack Obama). You can’t say they missed this opportunity unless unless you are accusing the Germans of extreme incompetence.