Another interesting revelation has surfaced in our modern era of digital espionage and surveillance. The German Bundesnachtrichtendienst or BND, their equivalent of the CIA, has been spying on other EU members and the United States.
Was it an accident? Why would they do this?
Does this exonerate the NSA in spying on Germany?
These questions miss the very large and crucial point. What is the BND?
The BND was from the beginning an American-sponsored project that grew out of the Gehlen Network. Reinhard Gehlen was an ex-Nazi general recruited by the US to run an intelligence machine in Central and Eastern Europe.
The BND has always been closely connected to Langley and in recent years it has all but been revealed that the relationship is in fact more intimate and symbiotic than many realised.
The BND is not just a CIA partner but is in reality almost a part of the CIA. It's a mechanism almost wholly under its control.
Does the CIA micromanage the BND, control and run every operation? Certainly not. I don't think anyone is suggesting that. Are there people in the BND who resent US control? Undoubtedly. Would they go rogue, run outside-the-boundary operations and perhaps keep data from their American masters? It's not only possible but likely.
All that said, it's possible that some anti-US elements within the BND ran the operations. It's possible that Germany is trying to assert a greater degree of independence and autonomy. They too run a huge economy and have many interests, some of which involve US institutions and corporations. Germany is trying to consolidate its power and dominance of the EU. They need intelligence in order to accomplish that.
But my default response to this story was to think of the Five Eyes relationship the US has with Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The Anglo-American/English language alliance functions on the basis of reciprocity. The UK spies for the US, the US for the UK and so forth. This way individual governments can maintain a buffer and a degree of plausible deniability when it comes to domestic spying. In many cases they do it anyway, but when exposed they can shift the 'blame' to the Five Eyes ally. The fact that the data is then shared with MI6, CIA etc. only demonstrates that the legality and optics are fraudulent in nature.
What if the BND is operating on behalf the US Deep State? If some of the data is used by bankers in Frankfurt and Defense Contractors in Berlin and Brussels, then so what? You don't think highly connected US investors, people involved in hedge funds and operations like the Carlyle Group don't diversify their portfolios and utilise international connections to accomplish their goals?
If the BND is spying on these US institutions and the government itself, who gets to the see the data? Most certainly someone from Langley does. The story in the media is about how bad the Germans are. The real story is about the nature of the BND, its birth and subsequent history.
It actually makes perfect sense that the CIA/Deep State would utilise an 'outside' agency like the BND to conduct this type of risky and sensitive signals intelligence... spying directly on elements of the US government. You can be certain they have more than one tool in their toolbox and yet this one has thus far probably proven to be rather convenient.
For further reading on the German Deep State and the BND: