Germany curbing intelligence sharing with US over drone attacks
US attacks have killed German born Islamists in Pakistan prompting fury among multiculturalists and leading the government to restrict what its security services can tell America
There are increasing signs out of Germany that the era of post-9/11 anti-terror cooperation with the United States may be nearing its end.
Spiegel, Germany’s flagship political magazine, reported this week that the killing of German citizens by US drones in the Pakistani region of Waziristan had provoked such controversy that the government had redrawn guidelines to the main domestic security service, the BfV, over what may or may not be divulged.
“The German Interior Ministry has issued new, more restrictive rules and has instructed the BfV to stop providing the Americans with current information that would make it possible to determine the location of German citizens,” the report said.
The move came following a drone attack on October 4 last year in which several jihadists holding German citizenship were killed along with a senior Taliban commander.
Spiegel said the event “marked a turning point in the cooperation between German and American intelligence agencies.”
Apart from the disappointment felt by the United States at being let down in this way by a key NATO ally, the Obama administration is likely to view the move as something of an embarrassment given that security cooperation is being downgraded to a level below that achieved by President Bush.
But in Germany it is seen as a question of domestic and international law with much turning on whether Pakistan can be said to be in a state of armed conflict or whether terrorism in the country should be considered a matter of standard criminality.
Analysts say the case illustrates a fundamental difference in the way the United States and Europe view the world in general and the “war on terror” in particular. Europeans are frequently accused by their critics of failing to grasp the enormity of the problem of global terrorism and of being overly obsessed with legalistic frameworks that became anachronistic following the 9/11 attacks.
Since President Obama came to power there have been more than 200 drone attacks killing over 1,000 people.
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