This afternoon, I came to read on an article via Stern. I dislike Stern for general reasons. Most of what they publish....ends up as an extreme view of what the truth might be. It's like admitting that you stopped at the coffee shop and had a piece of cake. They'd write up your visit and hint that you possibly had a 2,000 calorie piece of cake, sipped possibly several shots of booze, and were in the company of possible criminals. All of this is possible.....but almost all false.
So, we have the newest piece of the NSA episode.
The Stern folks wants you to know that there are 90 companies in Germany....working for the US government, and possibly passing German information along to the US government.
I was curious about this and Stern led into a listing of companies that basically have contracts with EUCOM, USEAUR, and USAFE.....all US military headquarters based out of Germany. They all have IT, intelligence and support personnel who work for them....supporting missions that extend out into Africa, the Middle East and the rest of Europe.
Ninety companies? Well....Germans rarely understand how contracting works. You say you need five specially trained folks to handle the baselining of computers at some particular building and they need to have these capabilities. The head company puts out a requirement and finds a 3rd-rate company that will do the job for ninety-percent of what the US government will pay the primary company.....so the 3rd rate company gets the requirement for five folks.....giving the primary a chance to profit off the ten percent of savings. Yeah, it's a stupid method of running things......but it's business operations for the US government.
How do I know all this? I spent a decade working for USAFE via a contractor company or two. Did we ever gather data against Germany? That's a joke. Other than arguing against customs idiots at the Frankfurt airport, or arguing with German Fedex to deliver a package to the right building, or arguing with delivery drivers to unpack the box as it was delivered.....that was the extent of my work against Germans.
In fact, I just can't think of a single contractor that I ever worked with....that had much of anything to do with something against the German government or German private data. We had real jobs....against a real threat or enemy.....and the mere suggestion of something otherwise by Stern....just makes me laugh.
Stern's article is mostly creative writing.....fictional....and goes to the extreme. But, it's creative, and I give them credit for that. Tomorrow? The Burger Kings at every military post and base.....were secret NSA listening posts. Next week? The bowling alley over at Sembach was a secret meeting point for spies....mostly to sip coffee and tell wild stories. The old American hotel in Wiesbaden? It was a CIA joint that was run for years and years....mostly with secret Budweiser flown in by the CIA's private jet.