The BND is to receive 100 million euros more to better monitor the Internet. As recently as mid-June, the SPD thought that was great, too. But for the moment she does not like to talk about it
The federal government had already thought of this. In the slipstream of the initial public uproar over the wiretaps and surveillance of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the British secret service, the political and media climate for the planned upgrade of the BND was tested . Coalition politicians signaled their support, the Springer Group’s blatants provided media protection, and the SPD also publicly voiced its approval.
New building of the BND headquarters in Berlin, photo from the end of 2012. Picture: euroluftbild.de/Grahn/CC-BY-SA-3.0
In an article in the Spiegel, there was talk of giving the foreign intelligence service a total of 100 million euros over the next few years. Euro for a "Technology upgrade program" to spend (The BND also wants to eavesdrop).
Federal Minister of the Interior Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich loves to be quoted by the "Mirror" to be quoted with the sentence "Of course, our news services must also be present on the Internet." But his reasoning seems a bit shady: "It cannot be". said the minister, "that the criminals are rushing up technologically, using the net more and more efficiently – and that we as a state cannot do anything about it." This must be taken care of, "that we compensate for losses of control over criminals’ communications by new legal and technological means".
According to our understanding, the police are still responsible for fighting crime. But while police departments in almost all states are being massively cut and staff reduced, the federal government continues to beef up the intelligence services.
One hundred new positions are to be created at the BND for Internet surveillance alone. If you believe the coalition factions and their leading media, the interception protection must urgently catch up as well. "Every third agent has no Internet", lamented the Welt am Sonntag on 9. June 2013 in a headline of an article, in which the comparison with the US security services could not be missing:
The technical backwardness of the German authorities stands in stark contrast to the capabilities of the U.S. security services, whose comprehensive data collection frenzy has just triggered an international debate.
The NSA’s data collection as a justification for further upgrading the German intelligence services. The BND (The BND is a secret service …) and Verfangsschutz (Who protects us from the Verfangsschutz??) has done only one thing in recent years – provided arguments for the abolition of both without hesitation: Verfangsschutz and BND.
But that will remain wishful thinking, at least in the event that the CDU/CSU or SPD are involved in the formation of the next federal government. Because the friendships and connections reach far beyond the CSU.
SPD: Need to catch up in Internet surveillance
"SPD also calls for expansion of Internet surveillance", overwrote stern.de a message, in which the interior-political speaker of the SPD Bundestag fraction, Michael Hartmann, with the sentence from the citizen of Berlin newspaper was quoted: "Germany has a lot of catching up to do in Internet surveillance." Against the "Berliner Zeitung" Hartmann explained that it was important, "to take money in hand, so that the BND comes up to the high of the time."
A remarkable demand, – the author thought and asked in the press office of the SPD parliamentary group, whether the spokesman for domestic policy spoke also in this case for the whole parliamentary group. The SPD faction press spokesman squirms and deflects. The timing seemed very unfortunate, not that it was a hoax, that Hartmann had been misquoted, no, no, just now.. . When almost every day new details about the extent of the secret service’s spying on the Internet become known, the press spokesman did not want to comment on demands for more money for even more Internet surveillance, this time by the BND.
Why am I asking about this old story, that was two weeks ago," he said? That’s right, Hartmann had already made noises in various interviews in mid-June 2013, at a time when Der Spiegel had reported about the 100 million euros more for the BND, when CDU/CSU and also FDP politicians supported this demand. "At that time" that is two weeks ago – the BND controller Hartmann did not want to stand aside.
What do I care about my yesterday’s gossip?…
The press spokesman tries to be chummy, saying I know how it works – the story is done, isn’t it?. After all, the Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, had declared that she knew nothing about the demand to give the BND more money. In fact, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger had explained on Deutschlandfunk: "I don’t know any 100-million-program." The Minister of Justice does not need to know that, she is neither responsible for finances nor for the supervision of the BND.
The SPD press spokesman maintained that all this was an "old hat" "old hat". He did not answer the repeated question whether the demand of the SPD’s spokesman for internal affairs for more money for the BND should not be considered independent of declarations by an FDP minister. In the meantime, the SPD parliamentary group would not comment on every rehash of one of its 146 deputies. If I want to know more about this, I should contact Mr. Hartmann. He, however, did not want to answer repeated inquiries.
This leaves questions unanswered. For example "Expiration date" of declarations of the SPD’s spokesman for internal affairs? Do these really have so little relevance for the parliamentary group that they are played down by the parliamentary group press office to one opinion among many?? Or does the answer fit the "two weeks old claim" The question of more money for the BND does not fit into the current political landscape, which has been shaped by further revelations about the NSA’s Internet surveillance activities?
While even the Chancellor is now adopting a critical tone and addressing the ies of data protection and privacy in telephone conversations with the US President, no one wants to talk about more money for the BND in public.
A call to Hartmann’s colleague, the member of the Bundestag Dr. von Notz. Konstantin von Notz provides information. Von Notz explained in the telephone conversation with the author, "Now is not the right time to think about increasing the BND budget". Not now, because it does not fit into the current discussion?
Clarification instead of BND-restriction?
Now, according to von Notz, clarification is needed about the nature and extent of Internet surveillance by the American services. This is a challenge for the federal government.
Asked whether he thought it was conceivable that there might be a division of labor between the BND and its partner services in the U.S. and Great Britain, for example, such that the BND would monitor U.S. citizens and the NSA would monitor federal citizens, and that these results would be exchanged, von Notz explained that "accusation of such a merry-go-round of intelligence is in the room." All this needs clarification. In particular, Ms. Merkel must explain what the German Chancellor’s Office, which is responsible for the BND, knew about the NSA’s activities against German citizens. Until the accusations against the US are cleared up, agreements on the exchange of sensitive data between the EU and the US, such as the Safe Harbor, PNR or SWIFT agreements (concerning bank data), had to be suspended.
This is also supported by Grune MEP Jan Philip Albrecht. Albrecht captioned a press release on the subject with the sentence "Meltdown of the rule of law has begun".
The question remains whether this gau of the constitutional state was stopped by a red-green federal government? Because "Hartmanner" there are many in the SPD. It stands neither alone there with its catching, nor is Michael Hartmann, born 1963, within the SPD a "Discontinued model", he is chairman of the SPD subdistrict Mainz-Bingen and was always ordered in the Bundestag by his parliamentary group, where it concerns the intelligence services. He represents his parliamentary group in the parliamentary control committee and was a member of investigation committees dealing with the BND.
One of these committees dealt intensively with the spying on scientists and journalists, such as Erich Schmidt-Eenboom or, years earlier, Gunter Wallraff. Nevertheless, Hartmann now declared, "The BND does not monitor German citizens". An astonishing statement in view of the indisputable expertise of this politician.
Journalistic research ended up with the BND
The author himself was told that the BND had been keeping a file on him, the journalist, for years. It was also reported that letters of inquiry on the export of rusts ended up at the BND, where they are archived in the personal file. Thus in the letter of the BND from 30. April 2012 lists the author’s residences since 1980, lists places of work and mentions various letters of inquiry in connection with research on the export of rusted goods. Quote:
"In addition, the BND received the following letters:
– Your letter of 16. December 1984 to the company Team Industries Maschinenhandel
– Your letter to the company Dornier dated 7. November 1983 (inquiry to the company IBCOL)."
Administrative assistance from the Verfangsschutz
And that is not all. The BND, which allegedly only dealt with foreign countries, also requested documents from the Federal Office for Interception Protection. So it says in the same letter:
"Finally, we have received information from the Federal Office for Interception Protection (BfV) dated 22 November 1983. February 1984 before. The BND explicitly clarifies that these are findings of the BfV and not findings of the BND: Since 1974 member of the anti-apartheid movement in the FRG and West Berlin e.V."
The author was present during this "monitoring period" Member of the SPD and the Young Socialists and has been a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany since birth."
Even if Hartmann’s statements about the BND may not always be correct – he will probably remain with us as a member of parliament, because Michael Hartmann is running for the next Bundestag in fourth place on the SPD state list for Rhineland-Palatinate. And when some time has passed, maybe we will be able to read a small news in our newspapers, according to which the BND now gets more money for better Internet surveillance. Of course everything for our protection. As always.