Less than 10% of Germany’s SIGINT Spying Targets Terrorist

Sorry I’ve been AWOL. I’ve been on a trip to DC.

Among the things I did was attend a presentation from Konstantin von Notz, one of the Bundestag members who is investigating Germany’s SIGINT spying in the wake of the Snowden leaks.

He made a comment that was really telling. They asked the BND (their NSA) to reveal how many of the selectors being targeted are terrorist targets. It’s less than 10% of the selectors.

I’m not (too) surprised by the number. But it’s a telling detail. For all the fear-mongering about how the government needs dragnets to combat terrorism, the bulk of what the Germans, at least, are doing is spying to serve the self-interest of their country.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

7 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Vielen dank. At least the Germans are satisfied with a pin cushion, rather than trying to hoover up every hay stack around the world.

  2. Bardi says:

    “is spying to serve the self-interest of their country”

    edited to: – is spying to serve the self-interest of the rulers –

    FIFY

    • martin says:

      quote”It’s been apparent that the two-way data transfer between government and the private sector has much to do with competitive business intelligence”unquote

      Supposedly spoken by Benito Mussolini in 1939. Of course, he was only at the beginning of his reign of fascism and had yet to murder his son.

    • emptywheel says:

      As I understand it, this was separate from the review of the selectors NSA gave them (which I understand from other things, not his report, was quite detailed). They were not permitted to see BND’s selectors — this was just based off what the BND told them.

      So it is BND self-reporting what their own selectors consist of, and is based off a total-selector count, not total amount of data or comms collected.

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