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German Intel Clears Russia on Interference

By       Message Ray McGovern     Permalink
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President Barack Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, June 8, 2015.
President Barack Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, June 8, 2015.
(Image by (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza))
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After a multi-month, politically charged investigation, German intelligence agencies could find no good evidence of Moscow-directed cyber-attacks or a disinformation campaign aimed at subverting the democratic process in Germany. Undaunted, Chancellor Angela Merkel has commissioned a new investigation.

Last year, Berlin's two main intelligence agencies, the BND and BfV (counterparts of the CIA and FBI) launched a joint investigation to substantiate allegations that Russia was meddling in German political affairs and attempting to shape the outcome of Germany's elections next September.

Like the vast majority of Americans malnourished on "mainstream media," most Germans have been led to believe that, by hacking and "propaganda," the Kremlin interfered in the recent U.S. election and helped Donald Trump become president.

German intelligence agencies rarely bite the hand that feeds them and realize that the most bountiful part of the trough is at the CIA station in Berlin with ultimate guidance coming from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. But this time, in an unusual departure from past practice, analysts at the BND and BfV decided to act like responsible adults.

Whereas former CIA Director John Brennan prevailed on his analysts to resort to anemic, evidence-light reasoning "assessing" that Russia tried to tip the U.S. election to Donald Trump, Berlin's intelligence agencies found the evidence lacking and have now completed their investigation.

Better still, the conclusions have been reported in a mainstream German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, apparently because a patriotic insider thought the German people should also know.

Lemmings No Longer?

If BND President Bruno Kahl thought that his own analysts could be depended upon to follow their American counterparts lemming-like and find evidence -- Curveball-style -- to support the U.S. allegations, he now has had a rude awakening.

When the joint investigation was under way with his analysts doing their best to come up with reliable evidence of Russian perfidy, Kahl had behaved like his BND predecessors, parroting the charges made by his CIA counterpart, that the Russians were fomenting uncertainty and instability in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

In a rare interview with the mainstream newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, on Nov. 28, 2016, Kahl went out on what he probably thought was a safe limb, denouncing subversive "interference" by the Russians ("as they did in the U.S."). He was just a few months into his job and may have been naive enough to consider what John Brennan said as gospel truth. (If he really is that gullible, Kahl is in the wrong profession.)

In the interview, Kahl played the puppet-doll Charlie McCarthy with Brennan in the role of Charlie's ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Kahl told the Sueddeutsche that he agreed with the U.S. intelligence "assessment" that the Kremlin was behind the cyber attacks aimed at influencing the U.S. election.

He added: "We know that cyber attacks are taking place and that they have no purpose other than to produce political instability. ... Not only that. The perpetrators are interested in delegitimizing the democratic process itself. ... I have the impression that the outcome of the American election has evoked no sadness in Russia so far. ...

"Europe is [now] the focus of these disruption experiments, and Germany especially. ... The pressure on the public discourse and on democracy is unacceptable." Sound familiar?

Still, one might excuse the novice BND president for assuming his analysts would remember which side their bread is buttered on and follow past precedent in coming up with conclusions known to be desired by their masters in Berlin and the CIA.

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 

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