back to article 'I thought we were pals!' Belgium, Netherlands demand answers from Germany in spy bust-up

Belgium and the Netherlands have joined Austria and Luxembourg in getting really rather upset that German spies, er, spied on them. But what really as the Belgians worked up is that the information collected by the German intelligence agency (BND) was passed on to the NSA. On Friday, Belgium's justice ministry announced it is …

  1. elDog

    You know of course, that even if they denied everything

    That they are sniffing everyone's undies.

    Here in the USofA we have this supposedly representational governmental thing where sniffing undies is OK'd by some stuffed shirts (civil servants or paid-for legislators). Apparently someone forgot to renew a license to sniff and the sniffers pretend that they will be wedgied if their noses weren't allowed in the proper cracks.

    I'm ready to take some bets as to whether the BND or the NSA or the rest of the 5-eyeballs will actually stop sticking their noses in places that even we don't want go (except in moments of extraordinary xxx.)

  2. The Dude

    Good point

    Very good point. If these snoopers want to put their sniffers in my private places, they should at least consider dinner and a movie first.

  3. Chris Miller

    For heavens sake, Benelux, the existence of the BND is hardly secret. Neither is their budget (> €0.5 billion), presumably no-one thought they were spending it entirely on cream doughnuts. I imagine all these countries have their own intelligence services. What do they do?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      I think perhaps their Nato and Eu allies thought that they might be spying on the common enemy, the USSR and then USSR-II, not on their friends and allies.

      Like we thought that the NSA was spying on the enemies of America and not, as it turns out, the American enemies of the NSA

      1. Chris Miller

        If they truly believed that, they were so naive that they really shouldn't be allowed to run around unsupervised. If you're going into negotiations with your friends and allies, wouldn't you appreciate a briefing on their likely position? That's a job for intelligence - always has been and always will be.

        Of course, in reality, these are politicians - they know and understand that perfectly well, they're just posturing for their public.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth
      Black Helicopters

      friends don't spy on friends to sell the info to the yankees

      Of course Holland has an intelligence agency. It spies on its citizens on behalf of the NSA.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Let's see if I got this right....

    The Germans were "irritated" that the NSA spied on Merkel. Everyone else is irritated that the Germans spied on them. So basically every country is busy spying on everyone else and their own folks and then getting irritated that others do it?

    I don't think it's just the 5-eyes anymore. I think I'll be adding bcc to all the agencies, in all the countries from now on. I wouldn't want anyone to feel left out of my emails, etc.

    1. Pliny the Whiner

      Re: Let's see if I got this right....

      Yes, you have it all properly sorted out. When you find that a friend is spying on you, you pull out the fake indignation schtick for the cameras and the reporters, then forget about it. That's politics.

      I would mention as an aside our unintended (and vaguely nauseating) discovery that Merkel is a complete wild woman in the bedroom. And don't you for a moment believe that Bush didn't know that when he tried to massage her shoulders.

  5. Rumournz


    keep your enemies close, keep your friends closer

    -- sun tsu

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: typical

      Nope, other way around. Attributed to several people, although I believe it is Sun Tzu. One of his typical koans.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: typical

        The earliest recorded use of that quote is in the script for The Godfather part 2.

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: typical

      ..Of course you spy on your friends. You already know what your enemies think of you...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    France !

    "Strangely enough, the Belgians didn’t feel man enough to take on the UK."

    And today, in light of this, France and its very "flamby" Hollande don't feel man enough to ask anything to the germans. Same as when Snowden revealed his mobile being spied by NSA ...

    As a french, I really feel dirty.

    Anon, of course, in light of "Loi du renseignement".


  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    It's all getting very boring now. Maybe that's the idea - the sheep will get so drowned under stories of everyone spying on everyone else they'll be too confused to bleat. Can we have some pics of Snowden's pole-dancing girlfriend with the next article, please, just to add a bit of colour?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: <Yawn>

      Except the one thing all these stories have in common is a strong connection to the intelligence services of one single country. Funny that.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: AC Re: <Yawn>

        "Except the one thing all these stories have in common is a strong connection to the intelligence services of one single country...." What, Germany? Did you miss a few stories? It seems ALL the Europeans have been happily going at it.

  8. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Zeb Gargle Blatter should have taken better steps to hide his importuning over the best part of two decades his mates were enjoying freebies (though not taking bribes obviously.)

    1. Dr Trevor Marshall

      Even the 1% are no longer immune

      Maybe the 1% will begin to realize this electronic privacy thing is relevant to them, too.

      1. GrumpyOldBloke

        Re: Even the 1% are no longer immune

        That is why the conversation has shifted to the 0.1%. With the decimation of the middle class and most of the *free* world dangerously close to recession or stagflation the rich have started eating their own. Privately issued debt based fiat money won't repay itself - but that was always the plan.

    2. beast666

      He should retire and spend more time with his delightful wife Fanny...

  9. harmjschoonhoven
  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Not a question of being manly enough

      Or it could be that some Belgians remember that Britain twice in the last 100 years came to their aid (at rather great cost to the country) to save them from the, err, Germans. I think you may have some GCSE history revision to catch up on.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Not a question of being manly enough

        Fuck of a lot more worried about the xenophobic sociopaths in charge of the UK than I am the folks running Germany.

      2. Originone

        Re: Not a question of being manly enough

        In just three years time it'll only be once in the last hundred years.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Not a question of being manly enough

      You missed case C:.... The US is like the honeybadger. It just doesn't give a s**t about anything or anyone else.

  11. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Thats one of the downsides of outsoucing security to the U.S.

    How much do you want to bet this has something to do with thevNSAs budget being 20 timescthe BNDs, and the Germans trying to keep access to all that U.S. Intel by selling out their Euro- buddies.

  12. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    And theres me

    over the past few years getting voted down every time I said that its only false outrage that Merkel et al were doing since their own thoughts were "thank f*** they have'nt outed OUR spying operation"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Belgium, Netherlands and Austria you say ?

    Perhaps Germany is going to make it third time lucky

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is reality starting to settle in?

    If you don't understand that every country with the capability is monitoring other countries for their own national security - you're a naïve fool.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Is reality starting to settle in?

      I truly do not understand why anyone would register a downvote for this clear simple statement of all-but-certain fact that should be obvious to anyone with the ability to enter "signals intelligence agencies" as a (google/bing/yahoo/duckduckgo) search argument. It merits far more than my paltry single upvote.

      Not liking the truth is a waste of time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is reality starting to settle in?

        The truth? You want the TRUTH? You can't handle the TRUTH!

        Thanks Jack (and Tom) for spelling it out in terms we can all understand.

  15. iLuddite

    it seems unclear

    I re-read the article but still do not understand how the Belgians discovered the BND scoop. Have the Belgians been spying on the Germans?

  16. Tom 13

    Belgium, Netherlands and Austria ought to be careful about this.

    Getting all uppity has worked out well for the Germans. I don't expect it will work out well for them either.

    Politicians all lie about the fact that Gentlemen don't spy on each other. Actual Gentleman don't make a big deal out of the fact that they do, so long as incompetence isn't splashing it all over the front page.

  17. PassingStrange


    "Strangely enough, the Belgians didn’t feel man enough to take on the UK"

    We all know that it's a basic principle that everyone spies on everyone. No surprises there. And presumably the Belgians are not stupid enough to actually think that there was any possibility that GCHQ wouldn't in principle pass anything they got on to the rest of the Five Eyes group (including the US). So they knew where they stood on that score. Whereas they possibly had a higher opinion of Germany.

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