For some people, it has been an open secret for very long. For a majority, it emerged as a huge surprise. According to German sources, the US National Security Agency (NSA) asked for German intelligence service (BND) for assistance with a view to closely monitoring the activities of Munich-based industrial group Siemens. The target would have been a partnership between Siemens and a group having alleged ties with a Russian intelligence agency about a delivery of communications technologies. Siemens denied such partnership ever took place.
Revelations are growing about a larger-than-expected NSA surveillance program on European industrial groups with the alleged cooperation of German intelligence. For instance, Airbus, the leading aerospace group founded by France and Germany in 1969 and the only real competitor to US similar group Boeing, would have been a target too, fueling general misunderstanding since the German government always proclaimed its pro-European posture. Other materials unveiled by newspaper Bild am Sonntag would show German intelligence has worked against the very real interests of both Europe and Berlin’s pro-European stance.
“Unless Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with it,” a diplomatic source took the risk to say. “To my mind, it is impossible Merkel agreed with it, otherwise it means the European Union could be just about to crumble,” the source added. Be careful: another source warned part of the story could result from a sophisticated disinformation operation led by non-US interests hostile to both US and European interests. “The Russians are very good at disinformation”, a former CIA chief station told Cyceon in February 2015. However because of such revelations, the European Union’s construction as a whole, already plagued with difficulties and growingly unpopular, is taking another big hit.