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11/01/2023 | Western intelligence agencies alarmed by arrest of Russian spy in Germany

Joseph Fitsanakis

WESTERN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES HAVE been alarmed by the arrest of a senior German intelligence official, who has been charged with spying for Russia, according to an expert in German intelligence.

 

On December 22, the German government announced the arrest of a senior officer in the signals intelligence (SIGINT) wing of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND). As Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND is tasked with collecting intelligence on foreign targets, a mission that makes it broadly equivalent to the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

The official, named only as “Carsten L.”, in compliance with Germany’s strict privacy laws, has been charged with “high treason” and is currently awaiting trial. When announcing his arrest, German officials said they were tipped by a foreign intelligence agency that detected a document from the BND’s internal files in the possession of a Russian spy agency. The identity of the intelligence agency that provided the tip is among several important details about the case that remain unknown for the time being. Among them are the duration of Carsten L.’s alleged espionage for Moscow, as well as his motives.

Some reports suggest that Carsten L. may have been blackmailed by the Russians as a result of a kompromat. It has also been reported that the alleged spy was found to be in possession of material relating to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a far-right party known for its friendly stance toward the Kremlin. But such reports are largely speculative. No information about Carsten L.’s motives has been released by the office of the German prosecutor. It is clear, however, that at least some of the information that Carsten L. gave the Russian government relates to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Additionally, the suspect’s seniority within the BND allowed him to access several compartmentalized areas of information, including secrets shared with the BND by other Western intelligence agencies. These almost certainly include the United States Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, as well as a host of British intelligence agencies. On Monday, British newspaper The Telegraph quoted German intelligence expert, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, who said that British intelligence officials were “most incensed” with the case. He added that British intelligence leaders were “considering whether they will continue to provide the BND with their most sensitive information”. The German expert concluded that the Carsten L. case may have “deep implications for future cooperation between the BND and other Western spy agencies”.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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