Monday, February 27, 2006

Public Persona, Private Action

If there is one aspect to the story in the NY Times about German intelligence assisting the US invasion of Iraq, despite pubic statements by Chancellor Schroder that Germany would not participate, it is that there was a low level agreement between the two governments regarding the invasion. It can easily be suspected that, while Germany refused to back the invasion publicly, it appears that there was some back room assistance provided by German intelligence:
Two German intelligence agents in Baghdad obtained a copy of plan to defend the Iraqi capital, which a German official passed on to American commanders a month before the invasion,

In providing the Iraqi document, German intelligence officials offered more significant assistance to the United States than their government has publicly acknowledged. The plan gave the American military an extraordinary window into Iraq's top-level deliberations, including where and how Mr. Hussein planned to deploy his most loyal troops.
The reason is obvious: the German public was adamantly against the US invasion, much as the rest of the world was and it would have done German politcians no good for their intelligence agencies to be seen backing the move in any way, unsanctioned as it was by the UN Security Council. Though it had previously been reported that German intelligence officers helped "assess targets" in the air invasion, the German government had strenuously tried to prevent this information from being released, knowing that it would not likely sit well with the German public. Schroder was sweating his chancellorship and exposure of this material might prove to be a nail he could ill afford hammered.

But this information reveals that the BND was rather more involved than that. That such assistance was provided was done so because, clearly, Shroder was in no position to kowtow to the Bush administration publicly, and so provided assistance as best he could -- under the radar.

Schroder is gone, so any wrath German citizens might exact upon his government is moot. Schroder was successful in keeping this information under wraps until the election, which, it turned out, didn't help him anyway. And now further revelations comes out.

Funny how that happens.


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