Als Quellen benutzt

Used as sources.

On Sunday, 13 Jul 2014, it was revealed that the C.I.A. had used more than a dozen German government employees in four ministries “as sources.” Also that there had been hacking attacks on the phones on members of the Bundestag’s N.S.A. investigation committee.

Although the Bundestag is in its summer recess, its N.S.A. investigation committee met on 15 Jul 2014. The heads of all three German intelligence agencies attended. Most of the meeting was secret.

The heads of the intelligence agencies praised their organizations for finding all these U.S. spies in the German government. The opposition said the spies were found accidentally and wondered how many more spies haven’t been found yet.

(Awls   KVELL en   ben OOTS t.)

G10-Kommission

A Bundestag committee whose four members, not mandatorily Bundestag members, are appointed by the Bundestag’s intelligence-agencies-monitoring parlamentarisches Kontrollgremium. The G10 committee monitors compliance with the German constitution’s requirement for individuals’ rights to letter secrecy [Briefgeheimnis], postal secrecy [Postgeheimnis] and telecommunications secrecy [Fernmeldegeheimnis].

The G10 committee supposedly must approve each surveillance or search of German citizens’ phones or computers by Germany’s intelligence agencies, which can only be possible if such surveillance is done on a very small scale. In July 2013, Spiegel-Online wrote that only 156 surveillance actions were approved by the G10 committee in 2011. And that the foreign intelligence service BND is permitted to ask for broadly-defined surveillance that is not however allowed to exceed 20% of the information out there and usually supposedly hovers at only 5%.

(Gay TSAYN comb eess y own.)

NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss

N.S.A. investigative committee of the Bundestag, which began meeting on 03 Apr 2014.

The committee’s chair is Clemens Binninger (C.D.U.), a former policeman.

It is tasking itself with investigating the involvement of German police and intelligence agencies—domestic, foreign and military—in the massive spying on people and companies that is now known to have been done by the U.S. and U.K. governments and their contractors.

Also it will now be investigating Germany’s culpability in the U.S.’s drone wars. Since the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) reported that the U.S. is using its Ramstein airbase inside Germany to support drone attacks in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, violating international law while killing hundreds of civilians, Germany’s government (C.D.U./C.S.U. + S.P.D.) can no longer pretend they don’t know this is happening.

The committee repeated that they would like Edward Snowden and other informed whistleblowers to give statements and answer questions for these Bundestag inquiries. Journalists repeated that the whole world will be watching this inquiry to see what the committee discovers and which stones they leave unturned.

Update on 09 Apr 2014: Clemens Binninger stepped down as chair of the N.S.A. investigative committee after only six days. He said he was resigning from the position because he felt people from the opposition parties were too interested in hearing from N.S.A. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Update on 10 Jul 2014: A Spiegel article about Germans’ angry responses to spying by the U.S. mentioned that Clemens Binninger is chairing the Parlamentarisches Kontrollgremium, the secret Bundestag committee supposed to monitor Germany’s intelligence agencies.

(Enn ess ah   oon tah ZOO chh oongs OW! ss shoes.)

Parlamentarisches Kontrollgremium, PKG

“Parliamentary supervisory committee” whose eleven Bundestag members are said to supervise Germany’s intelligence agencies Bundesnachrichtendienst, Militärischer Abschirmdienst and federal Verfassungsschutz. The P.K.G. is a German parliamentary committee presumably similar to e.g. the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. Its meetings are secret, held in a supposedly unsnoopable room, and its members cannot discuss what they learn, even with other Bundestag members.

This committee is the nominal control of Germany’s intelligence agencies. Spiegel.de wrote there can be disagreement between the eleven committee members and the intelligence agencies about what is worth reporting to the committee about the activities of the agencies’ tens of thousands of employees, quoting P.K.G. member the excellent Christian Ströbele (Green party) as saying in frustration “How are we supposed to control the secret services when we get no information?”

Update on 10 Jul 2014: Clemens Binninger (C.D.U.), a former policeman, is apparently chairing the PKG.

(Pah lah men TAH rish ess   con TROLL gray me oom,   pay kah gay.)

Querdenker

“Cross-thinkers,” critics, people with different perspectives, outsiders. Once considered square pegs in round holes at organizations, now officially to be encouraged in Verfassungsschutz agencies to reap the advantages of hybrid analysis and good self-criticism.

(KVAIR denk ah.)

Saustall

“Sow sty.” In German, the sow is a more intensive metaphor for the pig. Pigs are pigs, but the sow is the SOW. After a six-month investigation of the Saxony state Verfassungsschutz office (Saxon LfV), the investigating committee (of “independent experts” under a former German Attorney General) has said the place wasn’t a complete sow sty but they still have some recommendations for reform. The commission proposed creating a permanent “Verfassungsschutz commissioner” for Saxony, a position that does not yet exist in any other German states and would be similar to the state “data protection commissioners” who are already widespread. The Verfassungsschutz commissioner should have an intelligence background, investigate independently, and not be dependent on which parties control majorities in state parliaments or on legislature election periods.

The investigation was started half a year ago by the CDU governor of Saxony after some Saxon LfV files relevant to the serial-killing neonazi terror cell turned up but no one knew whence or how. Although the independent commission did not discover the origins of those files either, they did find many problems with the Saxon LfV’s filing system and also recommended “tightening things up” organizationally inside that authority, leaving power structures as they are but sending “the best people” to federal centers.

(ZOW! shtoll.)

Bouffier

The slightly creepy governor of Hesse, which includes the financial metropole Frankfurt am Main. The guy he replaced, Roland Koch, was also slightly creepy.

Bouffier it turns out was Hesse’s interior minister when the bank-robbing neonazi serial killers shot someone with an immigrant background in Kassel in 2006. Bouffier forbade direct interrogation of any V-people in the matter, even though a V-man of the Hessian Verfassungsschutz happened to be sitting in the café at the time of the murder.

Update on 02 Oct 2013: The “V-man” in question, Andreas T., was not a “Vertrauensmann” or police snitch being “run” and paid by the Hessian Verfassungsschutz but was in fact a Verfassungsschutz official who worked for that domestic intelligence agency. This week he testified at the Munich trial of the surviving neonazi terrorist cell member. He, and two other customers who were there when café operator Halit Yozgat was shot, said they didn’t hear the sound of the shot or thought a computer had been dropped in the next room. The Verfassungsschutz official walked out of the café without noticing or helping the dying man. At the neonazi’s trial, Halit’s father described how he found his son lying on the floor and held him as he died.

After the murder was announced in the news, Andreas T. still didn’t report in that he’d been at the café when it happened. In his trial testimony, he said this was because he’d been flirting with several women online while his wife was pregnant. For years, Kassel police suspected the victim’s family and friends of having committed the murder. Now German voters suspect state and federal police and/or spies of a cover-up, because their actions taken together made it look like that might be a possibility.

(Boof yay.)

Ägide

Aegis.

The Erfurt committee investigating the cell of neonazi serial murderers who only got caught posthumously (after they decided to commit suicide while setting their apartment on fire) has invited Helmut Roewer back to answer difficult questions about how Thuringian Verfassungsschutz paid ultimately-unhelpful neonazi informants 1.5 million euros in cash under Roewer’s aegis. 1.5 million is a lot to be unaccounted for or misspent in German government. Roewer was in charge of the state Thuringian Verfassungsschutz office from 1994 to 2000.

Roewer also appears to have personally made unusually high information payments to a “Günther” who was known only to Roewer and does not appear in the agency’s other files. Tax authorities have been asked to look into whether all V-people payments were properly reported on individuals’ income tax returns, as income to social welfare offices, and by Thuringian Verfassungsschutz as outgo.

If I understand this correctly, in 2006 Germany’s federal government ruled that informants receiving money from Verfassungsschutz and the Bundesnachrichtendienst owe 10% tax on those monies. Normal tax rates would range between 15% and ~42%.

(Ague EE deh.)

Spitzel bespitzelt Spitzel

“Spy spies on spy.” A quote from left-wing Thuringian state parliamentarian Martina Renner (Die Linken) and the subheadline to this Spiegel-Online article reporting that the Thuringian state parliament’s investigating committee now calculates there were about 40 “V-people, spies or informants” in the 1990’s group whence came the Thuringian neonazi cell that murdered people with immigrant backgrounds for years without getting caught. Thus it appears the Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz, the federal Verfassungsschutz and other agencies paid about one out of every four people in the cell’s source group for information.

Thuringian Verfassungsschutz violated its criteria in selecting these paid informants and apparently also in evaluating the results obtained from them (cf. updated V-Mann, V-Frau).

The investigating committee in Erfurt has had access to V-people acquisition and evaluation files since last week. The investigating committees in Erfurt and Berlin now have access to about 2000 files, including 795 from Verfassungsschutz and 685 from the police.

The three secret services dealing with this problem at the time were the Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz (LfV), the federal German Verfassungsschutz (BfV), and the Militärischer Abschirmdienst (MAD), a new one to me.

(SHPITS el   beh SHPITS elt   SHPITS el.)

V-Mann, V-Frau

“V men” are police snitches in certain milieux. For a long time I thought V in this case stood for Verfassungsschutz, but apparently it stands for Verbindungs– or Vertrauens-? In the latter case, the paid informants in the German right-wing scene who have supplied questionable information to the police might actually be called “confidence men.”

Update on 4 Sept. 2012: The Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz office apparently ignored its own rules for selecting V-people. German constitutional law requires V-people to be neither leaders nor criminals, “yet V-men in Thuringia often fulfilled both those criteria,” according to Der Spiegel. Furthermore, the Thuringian Verfassungsschutz paid for lawyers, cars, computers and workshop rent for these guys, “keeping the neonazis mobile” as left-wing Thuringian state parliamentarian Martina Renner (Die Linke) described it.

Update on 15 Sept. 2012: Not only police kept V-people. German foreign intelligence, domestic intelligence (state and federal), military intelligence, and police (state and federal) paid V-people for information. Vertrauen means trust or confidence. As Spiegel-Online noted in this excellent article about one of the Berlin police’s neonazi V-men, it is not always clear in these situations who is trusting whom.

Update on 4 Nov 2012: The new head of German Verfassungsschutz, Hans-Georg Maaßen, has called for a central national register of all V-people. This must replace the current system wherein each German state pays its own set of informants and is not required to share information about them, he told the Welt am Sonntag. “Central knowledge is indispensable for effective management of the federal and state V-people.”

Update on 8 Dec 2012: The central list of V-people will go active by 1 Jan 2013.

Update on 4 Feb 2013: There is an argument in the committee investigating the band of neonazi serial killers because a government office refused to have a V-man connected to the cell, “Thomas R.,” appear to testify before the committee. Apparently the bureaucrats running the V-people were and remain also assured complete secrecy and apparent immunity.

Update on 5 Feb 2013: Europol used V-people in its investigation of the UEFA and FIFA soccer betting scandal that so far has turned up at least 380 manipulated games around the world between 2008 and 2011, with profits of at least 8 million euros in Germany alone. In this investigation Europol also accessed phone conversations and evaluated 13,000 emails.

Update on 27 Apr 2013: As part of their 2013 election platform, the Green Party wants to get rid of all V-people.

Update on 23 May 2013: The federal + states commission investigating the investigation of the neonazi serial killers published its highly critical report, which included a recommendation to continue the option of immunity for V-people who commit crimes. Saying such crimes were scarcely avoidable, commission spokesman and Munich attorney Prof. Eckhart Müller indicated the immunity was actually for the government officials paying the V-people, to keep these authorities from being prosecuted under German laws against incitement to crime.

Update on 16 Jul 2014: After a V-Mann testified this week that he gave his snitching fees to the neonazi bank-robbing cell of serial killers—he was available to testify inter alia because he’s been arrested for sexual abuse of a child—someone leaked a 1997 letter to ZDF in which the federal police firmly warn Verfassungsschutz about V-people, saying some were in “exposed positions” and fearing there could be an “incendiary effect.” By this I think they mean now that the authorities were paying neonazi leaders good money, though it sounds like at the time these words could mean they were worried about their sources’ safety. They think now there were seven paid V-people who were in contact with the neonazi serial killers. The 1997 letter mentions two of them by name.

In 1998 the authorities found a bomb-making workshop used by the cell, with one of the terrorist’s contacts list in it. The list was never used by investigators—perhaps because it contained the names of many V-people?

The Thuringian state legislature has passed stricter rules for the V-people paid by Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz. The income cannot be the source’s livelihood. Also, the Thuringian Verfassungsschutz has been made a part of the state’s interior ministry; previously, it was independent.

(F OW! mon. F OW! frrr ow!.)

Verfassungsschutz

“Constitution Protection.” The name for a federal German police agency that has state branches. I don’t know much about it. The name might be intended to convey the idea that federal police are needed to keep a democracy from falling into dictatorship.

Wikipedia says the Verfassungsschutz offices are responsible for domestic intelligence, the Bundesnachrichtendienst for foreign intelligence, and the Militärischer Abschirmdienst for military intelligence.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung said federal Verfassungsschutz is responsible for defending Germany against spying.

Update on 28 August 2012: Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) has announced that he would like to reform the Verfassungsschutz, including a mandate that all state-level Verfassungsschutz organizations would have to send all their information to a central federal office (some state offices have already protested this) and that a central federal list be kept of all Verfassungsschutzmänner and -frauen who are providing information to these police in return for money. See V-Mann, V-Frau.

Update on 29 August 2012: The state and federal reps supposedly only discussed for one hour before agreeing on a framework for reform, which even the opposition SPD party now supports. Not only will state Verfassungsschutz offices be required to share all information with the federal office, but the federal office will be required to share all information with state offices as well (there are currently a total of 17 Verfassungsschutz offices). The state reps negotiated away Hans-Peter Friedrich’s proposal that the federal office be made the sole boss of  investigations of (potentially) violent groups. Angela Merkel’s libertarianesque coalition partner, the FDP, criticizes that these changes are just moving furniture around and the old system, with its redundancies, remains the same.

Update on 03 July 2013: Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) and the head of federal Verfassungsschutz, Hans-Georg Maaßen, announced the Verfassungsschutz agencies will undergo fundamental reforms of structures and procedures, imposing uniform standards on the state and federal offices. The changes are to include: new guidelines for the use of V-people (“persons who have committed the most serious crimes are not to be acquirable as V-people” —Maaßen; informants are no longer to receive fees high enough that they could live on that income alone; handlers are to be swapped every five years at the latest to prevent friendships and Seilschaften; and a central file of state and federal V-people is to be created e.g. to prevent multiple Verfassungsschutz offices from paying the same informant); new rules for working with state Verfassungsschutz agencies (which will have to send the knowledge they acquire in unfiltered form to the federal office) and in future files are only to be destroyed after multiple-step reviews (with destruction training and a “file destruction officer” appointed for each department). “Cross-thinkers” [Querdenker] in the offices are supposed to observe, question and criticize what they see, hopefully spotting real trends and catching when departments are on wrong or slow tracks. These initial reforms are said to be in response to the failures discovered in the investigations of Germany’s decade-long serial-killing bank-robbing neonazi terror cell, not to the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden. Because there is a German election in two months it’s possible these announced reforms will not be enacted and/or funded, as has apparently been the case with some of Health Minister Daniel Bahr (FDP)’s pre-election reform announcements. The opposition criticized them as purely cosmetic and piecemeal anyway. Thomas Oppermann (SPD) called for a mentality change at these agencies and training employees so that they “have a sense of where the real dangers to our democracy lurk.” Hans-Christian Ströbele (Green party) said Verfassungsschutz should be eliminated “such as it is. We can’t let people just continue on who failed like that.”

Update on 19 Sep 2013: A state Verfassungsschutz office (Lower Saxony’s) was caught collecting and keeping information on at least seven journalists. Federal-level Verfassungsschutz was also caught cooperating with the C.I.A. and the Bundesnachrichtendienst to spy on a journalist, though Hans-Georg Maaßen issued a denial; the NDR journalist‘s name, passport number, mobile phone number and date of birth were on a U.S. list of names and data given to the German domestic and foreign intelligence agencies in 2010 with a request for more information about those people.

These reports showed that the German domestic intelligence Verfassungsschutz (state and federal) and foreign intelligence Bundenachrichtendienst agencies are supplying information for databases (now including ones named “Project 6,” “P6” and/or “PX”) that should have been inspected by data protection officers and subject to German data protection rules regulating among other things what information they can contain and for how long, after which the data must be deleted. However, the German data protection officers did not know about these databases, said Peter Schaar. He said this is no minor infraction, and “anyone running such a project absolutely must guarantee that all activities are completely documented and subjected to data protection control/inspection.”

The excuse for Lower Saxony Verfassungsschutz’s spying on journalists was fighting neonazis and the excuse for federal Verfassungsschutz’s spying on journalists was fighting terror. In his 2007 book Das Ende der Privatsphäre [“The End of Privacy”], Mr. Schaar said in the 1990’s the excuse tended to be fighting organized crime.

Update on 14 Mar 2014: New Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière announced the Verfassungsschutz will stop watching members of the Leftists party, which many S.E.D. politicians from the former East Germany joined twenty years ago, “unless they have good grounds for surveillance.” It will also “in general” stop watching Bundestag members, no matter what party they belong to. He said they reserved the right to investigate resumption of surveillance if they received new knowledge. Such as, that Bundestag members had connections to extreme milieux willing to do violence. Süddeutsche.de said this change of policy is in response to a case Bodo Ramelow (Leftists, and kept under observation for decades) brought to the supreme court, Bundesverfassungsgericht, in Karlsruhe. The court decided in October 2013 that “parliamentarians could only be watched who abused their mandate to fight against the free democratic basic order.” Süddeutsche.de said Mr. de Maizière’s formal statement did not say members of state parliaments would generally no longer be watched, and it noted that formally that his statement only commits the federal Bundesverfassungsschutz to suspend operations, not the 16 state offices.

Update on 08 Apr 2014: A company that represents companies in the Maschinenbau industry [“machine building,” industrial engineering] signed an agreement with federal Verfassungsschutz at this year’s trade show in Hanover. The agreement is supposed to encourage more German companies to consult Verfassungsschutz about suspected cases of industrial espionage. FAZ.net: “But Verfassungsschutz’s advantage is that unlike police they do not have to follow up on a crime, said the association. That is to say, the intelligence agency can pass on information to a company that’s affected; what happens with it after that is the management’s decision.”

(Fer FOSS oongs shoots.)

Blog at WordPress.com.