back to article German spy agency staffer spied for NSA during gov probe into NSA spying – report

A German intelligence agency staffer has been arrested after allegedly being caught spying on behalf on the US, according to reports by German newspapers. The country's Federal Prosecutor's office has confirmed that a man had been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign spy, but gave no further details. According to reports …

  1. Semtex451

    Ach so!


    1. Grass Mud Horse



  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dammit Obama!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yes, spying does not pay a lot. €25,000 already sounds like quite a lot of money for the (non-strategic) sort of info a low-level employee can get his hands on (yes, I've heard of Mr. Snowden, thank you). The reason it doesn't need to pay a lot is because people usually have other motivations to "apply" for the job, often just the thrill of doing something naughty. :-/

    Btw, was he disabled from before or after he got caught? Not accusing the German police of brutality, but...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: €25K

      At least we know that no GCHQ employee would hand over British secrets to the NSA for €25k - they get a generous salary and a public sector pension to spy on us for the merkins

    2. Bloakey1

      Re: €25K


      "Btw, was he disabled from before or after he got caught? Not accusing the German police of brutality, but.."

      He was disabled before the Kripo's gave him a visit. According to local sources, his decision to hand over the information was not based around monetary gain but the fact that he was tired of being pushed around at work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: €25K

        > his decision to hand over the information was not based around monetary gain but the fact that he was tired of being pushed around at work.


  4. solo

    Cold war

    Someone is pushing Germany to the third war. The friendly nations?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cold war

      Yup, the US has run out of justification for it's huge military budget and an election is on the horizon, so someone needs to be invaded, so why not the Germans.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Cold war

        As a general rule I've found that when the nation of Germany is all nice and settled down, it's best to just leave them that way.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Cold war

      Perhaps somebody put an accumulator on them in 1914?

      Have we checked with paddy power?

  5. Daedalus

    On the dropping of trousers

    "Letting down your trousers" is an old German espionage expression for revealing yourself as a spy. But that doesn't mean you tell the truth about who you are working for. Maybe this guy thought he had been recruited by the Yanks, but there's a good chance his intel went elsewhere. There is actually no way for the Germans to prove - short of getting pictures of him handing stuff to Embassy staff - that he was actually working for the USA.

    1. Gareth 7

      Re: On the dropping of trousers

      see also "Lifting the Kilt" and "Opening the Kimono"

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: On the dropping of trousers

        "see also "Lifting the Kilt" and "Opening the Kimono""

        For the Cambridge spies it was the lifting of the shirt.

        Now about this App. Would the US be stupid enough to place an obvious weather in NY encrypted channel? I would have thought that a more obscure weather in Dagesthan or Belgium would have aided obfuscation and hidden the provenance. Hmmm, but if it were the North Koreans then a bit of provenenace trickery would have put the US in a bad light.

        Anyway, what is the app called and where can one download it?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if nine years = veteran techie

    I guess that makes me a dinosaur

  7. Arctic fox

    Well, well, well. I perfectly well understand that the expression "allies"....................

    .......largely means people we are not likely to bomb anytime soon but I think we should all rethink this transanlantic alliance. Not in the sense of flushing it down the lav, more in the sense of trying to persaude our friends on the other side of the pond that this kind of behaviour is counterproductive.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Well, well, well. I perfectly well understand that the expression "allies"....................

      If I were in the Greek, Cypriot, Italian, Irish or Portuguese government, I wouldn't necessarily regard Germany as allies. I might be sharing a currency with them, but I'd find it hard to interpret their actions over the last few years as terribly friendly.

      Getting caught can certainly make life awkward though. But it's all part of the fun-and-games that is international diplomacy.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well, well, well. I perfectly well understand that the expression "allies"....................

        Everyone knows (our at least should be), that what in fact happened its that the german banks were the ones who got bailled out, not the other way round. At what cost? Public debt on that countried skyrocketed.

    2. chris lively

      Re: Well, well, well. I perfectly well understand that the expression "allies"....................

      Which side of the pond are you on? -- just trying to clarify who you think needs to be persuaded.

      In other words, are you saying the US should stop spying on it's allies or that the Germans should stop all the bellyaching and just get with the program already.

      1. Arctic fox

        "Which side of the pond are you on?"

        The side that Columbus came from old chap.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The worst navigator in the history of humankind.

          > The side that Columbus came from old chap.

          Given that he missed his intended destination by one whole continent, can we be really sure where he started from?

    3. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: Well, well, well. I perfectly well understand that the expression "allies"....................

      According to most fly-on-the-wall documentaries, a lot of prostitutes believe they have a "special relationship" with their pimp.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he just got info about the parliamentary inquiry -

    it can't be worth 25k$ methinks. Those inquiries tend to produce masses of classified documents but very little information.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Curiously, this latest development seems to contradict Germany's assertion in May that it would not pursue charges over the NSA's mass spying. ®"

    How so?

    Just because they would not be pursuing the NSA doesn't meant to say they wouldn't hold an inquiry into the impact of it, or how to prevent as much of it in the future. Nor does it mean they wouldn't prosecute one of their own for spying for a foreign agency. That would be just silly.

    Plus, not prosecuting, or attempting to prosecute anyone in relation to the mass surveillance wouldn't prevent them from going after subsequent, and quite blatant, spying attempts by the good ol' US of A.

  10. Rottenham

    A Good Time Was Had By All

    In a peeing contest, everyone gets wet.

    1. Arctic fox

      Re: A Good Time Was Had By All

      Not if you make sure that you are upwind of the other contestants.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he likes it so much

    Try him under American law, that ought to dissuade anybody else.

  12. Chris G


    The Germans caught him trying to sell out to the Russians but knew nothing of his Yank connection until he told them.

    One assumes from that that the Germans had good surveillance in place against the Russians but not so much for further spying from their already proven less than above board allies.

    Unusually naive for them.

  13. Nathan Brathahn
    Black Helicopters

    pawn sacrifice to silence the german public

    This whole story smells fishy.

    Who is this double agent anyway? A handicaped low rank office worker. Probably someone who would easily volunteer in such a game to get his early retirement and a handfull of €.

    We have a triple-win situation on both sides of the atlantic:

    The german government can show that they are taking action and fight domestic spying.

    Government officials in germany are allready demanig a fund raise for countermeasures to protect the german public from foreign agencies. Data retention law will be getting on its way again.

    The US will benefit from the improved german spying infrastructure.

  14. Levente Szileszky

    And Gen Alexander's Frankenzilla aka the NSA is just running amok, spiralling out of control...

    ...and the proud father and his ilks are is still enjoying retirement, promotion etc instead of a nasty federal investigation for lying to Congress, knowingly and continuously violating constitutional limits etc. Somehow nothing happens.

    Pure insanity.

  15. Ken 16 Silver badge

    25K either too much or too little for me

    If it's not information I'm willing to give away over a pint, I'd need to be paid several years salary for it. A 'veteran techie' should be raking in more than that.

  16. Schultz

    A German Snowden ...

    But he did it for money and he was bad at it. It makes you wonder how many secrets are sold and bought in that business. Somebody give Snowden a price for providing some context for the whole game.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone with a clue...

    ...knows this is standard procedure for all major governments so the public display of shock is for the sheeple.

  18. Peshman

    Offered to work for the Russians?

    I'm no conspiracy theorist but what does his spying for the NSA on the Germans have to do with wanting to pimp himself to the Russians? Unless he's already working for the Russians and it's their plan to stir up shit between the Americans and the Germans...Hmm. Something stinks about this story.

  19. Robert Helpmann??


    The... man allegedly had a weather app which appeared innocuous until one searched for the weather in New York, at which point the app allegedly opened an encrypted communication channel.

    So much spycraft - at least what is reported - seems to be rather pedestrian stuff. I wonder, when the "encrypted communication channel" opened, was it in the form of a holographic pop-up with a 3D spinning CIA logo followed by a direct link to his handler who appeared as a dark-cowled figure with a raspy voice?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally!

      "Germany calling, Germany calling..."

  20. Oh Homer

    So much for diplomatic relations

    Soon the fascist American empire's only allies will be the Tories.

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