“Cooperation between Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, and America’s NSA is deeper than previously believed. German agents appear to have crossed into constitutionally questionable territory.”
The U.S. National Security Agency has its surveillance tentacles deep inside the German government. The intelligence agency’s “Special Source Operations” department, which manages its delicate relationship with large telecommunications companies, is said by Edward Snowden to be the “Crown Jewels” of the NSA.
In spite of denials, documents from Edward Snowden as well as from other sources reveal that the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and the NSA work very closely together in the most sensitive surveillance matters. The Germans sometimes play a leadership role while the NSA provides technical assistance.
Germany began collaborating with U.S. intelligence in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the USA. But their relationship is “opaque and convoluted: opaque because the German parliament and public are unable to review most of what is delivered to the United States; convoluted because there are questions about its legality.”
Some law experts believe that the BND is violating the German constitution by working with data received from or provided to the NSA, including constitutional rights such as the privacy of correspondence, post and telecommunications. German intelligence agencies believe that their cooperation with the NSA is indispensable for counter-terrorism and other security issues.
The facts reveal that the “exchange of data, spying tools and know-how is much more intense than previously thought.” Yet astonishingly, the BND claimed that they knew little about the programs and methods used by the NSA. Snowden’s documents, however, reveal that NSA employees worked “side-by-side” with BND analysts not only on surveillance in Africa and Afghanistan, but in Germany itself on German organizations.
In 2012 and 2013, approximately 3 million items of intercepted conversations and messages, were sent to the United States each month. One document points to 500 million points of metadata transferred to NSA databases in just one four-week period. The BND says that they might have been collected from Afghanistan, but they are not sure if that accounts for all the data transferred to the NSA.
The BND says that the structures of collaboration with the NSA were discontinued in 2011 and 2012. But NSA documents reveal otherwise. One document notes that the cooperation is “unique as a jointly manned, jointly tasked [Digital Network Intelligence] site.” Another document indicates that the collaboration “must remain confidential.”
The Americans praise their German counterparts for their collaboration and note that the BND “offered NSA unique accesses in high interest target areas.” They even share information in “near real time.”
Recently, the German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière at an event in Berlin described the United States as Germany’s most important ally and said, “If it were up to us, we would continue it in absolute terms and even intensify it.” And apparently that is what the Germans want to do. One document says that U.S. officials welcome “the BND’s eagerness to strengthen and expand cooperation with NSA.”
While there are tensions at the highest levels of the two governments, but the documents show “a smooth relationship between the eager BND and the covetous NSA.”
Total surveillance is very important to enforcement of the Bible’s predicted end-time worship laws and persecution for breaking them. The collaboration between the BND and the NSA would be part of the global system designed to accomplish this.