Gen. Hayden: US Will Determine If German Spying Worth Political Cost

Friday, 11 Jul 2014 12:06 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Expelling the American station chief — or top spy — in Germany underscores how upset the Germans are about discovering two purported U.S. spies in their ranks, retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, also a former director of the CIA and the NSA, tells Newsmax TV.

"It really underscores how seriously the Germans are now taking it and … there's probably a fairly significant political quotient in what [Chancellor Angela Merkel] felt she had to do," Hayden told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" Friday.

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German officials last week arrested an employee of the Federal Intelligence Service, known as the BND, on suspicion of spying for the United States. Now a German Defense Ministry official is being investigated on suspicion of passing secrets to the United States.

German officials have ordered the United States' "top official spy" to leave the country, something the Wall Street Journal characterized as "a rare and forceful act illustrating deep anger over revelations of American espionage that are disrupting one of Washington's chief alliances."

Hayden agreed, noting the "station chief is known to them. The station chief is their friend.

"The station chief is the individual who arranges cooperation between the two intelligence services. The station chief is also the conduit through which vast volumes of American intelligence is shared with the German service, the BND."

Despite the recent revelations and current discord between the nations, Germany remains a substantial beneficiary of American intelligence, according to Hayden, who quantified the German-American intelligence relationship as a 90-10 split to the benefit of the German government.

"We share so much information with the Germans," he said. "I don't think we should squeeze that pipeline. I don't think we should reduce it, but we need to point out to the Germans this relationship, even with all its trouble, is still immensely beneficial to them."

He predicts an American reassessment about whether any current or future intelligence-gathering activities will be worth risking the U.S.–German political relationship.

"I'm not uncomfortable with spying," Hayden said. "I'm not apologetic about spying against Germany, if that's going on, given the importance of Germany to the world and certainly to Europe. But I really am against spying badly, and when you spy badly you embarrass not only yourself, but we embarrass a friend. There's no question, Germany's a friend."

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