Press TV has interviewed Scott Rickard, a former American intelligence linguist in Orlando, to discuss a report saying Germany’s secret service has “systematically spied” on the country’s allies and other international organizations.
Following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: What is going on? Why is it necessary for allies to spy on other allies?
Rickard: Well unfortunately that has been the status quo from the beginning of time. The allied forces obviously work in conjunction with each other but what the Germans do obviously is pale in comparison to what the United States is doing.
The BND’s budget is a mere billion dollars a year and there is really only about anywhere between five and seven thousand employees that work for the BND and just the NSA’s budget alone is over ten billion dollars and there is 60,000 employees that work for the NSA and the United States is spending anywhere from 60 to 70 billion dollars on their intelligence operations on an annual basis.
So they are pale in comparison and certainly as a member of the EU and certainly the kinds of activity that Germans had to deal with in the past because of their enemies like the French and the British and certainly the Russians, it is in their best interest to keep a close eye on their “allies” because as they say, ‘keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer’. Certainly the Swedish and the British have been arch-enemies to the Russians for five hundred years and they have wanted to overthrow the country several times in the past century alone and the Americans unfortunately were adapted in the 1850s.
So this kind of spying on allies is absolutely necessary in order to keep your allies honest and certainly there is good reason to distrust Americans and their “allies” in that region, as well as around the world.
Press TV: Well what does it say? You talked about that it is pale compared to the NSA and we have seen the type of spying or part of it at least has been exposed that is taking place out of Washington towards allies and enemies alike. What does this do to the allies itself? Does it really affect relationships or is it as you said something that all entities do, so basically a country like let’s say UK or France in dealing with the United States and they would just accept it as just a way things are?
Rickard: Not only accepted it is actually sanctioned. If you look at some of the documents that the NSA has released through Edward Snowden and other WikiLeaks type of opportunities, there has been a clear permission given to the Mossad in Israel to collect intelligence against American citizens and they have basically carte blanche and a lot of these types of relationships are so that they can get around their national laws whereby it used to be illegal actually to collect intelligence against the United States’ individuals and unfortunately they are passing law after law, the Patriot Act, the CIA Act.
All of these new laws are making it more and more easy not only to spy on citizens but certainly the simplicity of spying on allies has been there for so long that you are absolutely right - it is camaraderie among the intelligence communities, it is game play. These individuals know each other very well, they meet each other on a regular basis and it is kind of one-upmanship. It is sort of a, ‘we are doing better than you’ and certainly nobody does it better than the United States and they have given the keys to the kingdom away to individual intelligence organizations especially Mossad and certainly the Five Eyes partners that they have.