More Snowden Fallout: U.K Threatens To Stop Sharing Intelligence With Germany — If Berlin Parliamentary Investigation Presses Ahead With Inquiry Into British And American Spying
London’s The Telegraph, reports that “British intelligence officials have threatened to stop sharing information [intelligence] with their German counterparts, if the German Parliament goes ahead with its inquiry into the U.K.’s and American spy activities within their borders. Justin Hughes writes that “British intelligence officials are worried that German politicians could reveal classified information about their joint projects, including details on code-breaking and [other] intelligence [collection] technologies. British intelligence officials fear a Europe-wide surveillance project that began last year, [in response to the Edward Snowden leaks], and includes British and German intelligence, could be compromised,” the paper reported.
“Germany is taking this threat [warning] seriously,” the paper added. “Gerhard Schindler, the head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), reportedly briefed the parliamentary inquiry on the “usually tense relations with British partner agencies,” on Wednesday evening.
“German intelligence depends on shared information with the U.K.,” according to The Telegraph, “particularly when monitoring jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq. “Without the information [intelligence] from British signals intelligence, we would be blind,” an unnamed senior intelligence official told the magazine.”
“Known in Germany as “the NSA Committee,” “the parliamentary inquiry was set up last year; after documents leaked by Edward Snowden — suggested that Britain and the United States had been spying on their ally Germany,” The Telegraph noted.
“Last summer, Ms. Merkel’s Government asked the BND to spy on how Britain and the U.S. gathers intelligence on German soil the first time it has done so — since WWII. The request was made after a double agent was uncovered in the BND, selling secrets to the U.S. CIA,” Mr. Hughes wrote The CIA’s Berlin Station Chief was subsequently asked to leave the country — after the operation became public. Britain’s intelligence sharing/partnership also took a hit; after it was disclosed that London was using its British Embassy , as a listening post — to monitor communications in the buildings of government departments nearby.”
“Behind the scenes,” Mr. Hughes wrote, “intelligence sharing [between the U.K. and Germany] has continued; and, government communications headquarters (GCHQ), recently set-up a joint project to monitor hundreds of volunteers who traveled from Britain and Germany to wage jihad in Iraq and Syria,” according to Bild Newspaper.
Like a bad hangover, Snowden’s damage to American and Allied intelligence sharing partnerships was severely damaged; and, I wrote several articles at that time that warned of significant degradation of joint intelligence collections and operational activities — and, I see no need to amend those remarks now. Our intelligence sharing/liaison partnerships with our European countries has no doubt suffered a crisis in trust — much of it lay at the feet of Mr. Snowden.
In addition to damaging our intelligence sharing and liaison partnerships on the European continent, Snowden’s reckless and unwise exposure of our sensitive intelligence collection sources and methods — aided the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and others of their ilk — in enhancing and changing their software encryption, and changed their operations security (AOPSEC) techniques, tactics, and procedures — making it much harder for the U.S., Britain, and others to collect against them — thus increasing the likelihood of a nasty surprise — because of a lack of critical intelligence that we no longer are benefiting from — to the extent it was prior to the Snowden leaks. Additionally, Russian and Chinese intelligence operatives have also no doubt done a lessons-learned autopsy of all the techniques, methods, and sources — both to learn for themselves what techniques work — that they may not have thought of; and, aid them in knowing better ways to implement a sophisticated, and exquisite denial and deception program — designed to mislead, and/or confuse us/muddy the water.
Like a bad hangover that won’t go away, the Edward Snowden leaks continue to impose negative consequences on our, and British intelligence collection activities — thus increasing the likelihood of tactical, and strategic surprise. V/R, RCP