Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Old Man and NATO: German gets to seven years for treason after retroactive classification

German media reports on the trial of Manfred Klag in 2013 are short on details and long on speculation.

Focus Online titled "Treason for eight million?".  Even Der Spiegel, proud of its Snowden revelations, only reveled in a delicious detail in its 17 July 2013 article. According to Spiegel, Mr. Klag told the court that two German domestic intelligence officials were "very upset about his contacts with neo-Nazi party NPD" but that his security clearance was renewed nonetheless.

How did German domestic intelligence decide to talk to Mr. Klag about NPD contacts?

Because Klag himself had written them an anonymous letter telling them about it.

And the money sitting in investment funds in Luxemburg? Mr. Klag's job in IT at the U.S. Airbase in Ramstein, Germany, earned him 7000 Euros a month after tax. Research by German daily TAZ finds that Mr. Klag's wealth is well-documented and nothing indicates he sold secrets.

Would it surprise you if we told you that the author of the article in Focus had been listed by German "foreign" intelligence agency BND as one of their own? gives the name of the reporter as Josef Hufelschulte. Might come in handy one day, who knows.

The TAZ article has an amazing wealth of details about the treason case against the 30 plus year veteran employee, and you should find yourself a German speaker and read the whole piece.

We will limit this post to the three most important details:
1) Mr. Klag had formally complained to NATO about mishandling of actual classified information several times.
2) The documents on which the treason case was based were not classified. They were classified retroactively.
3) The German federal prosecutor who brought the case was a Mr. Range, the same gentleman who would lose his job two years later over a bunk treason investigation into The TAZ piece also describes in lurid details how classified information about the Klag case was handled by people without the required security clearance, from his lawyers to prosecution clerks to the judges in the case, and how none of them faced any consequences.

Having read the TAZ investigation, the author of this post is willing to bet the Susan B. Anthony dollar which know one has so far claimed on the accuracy of the TAZ piece.

Within the structure where Mr. Klag was employed, the handling or mishandling of complaints as described by the TAZ reporter made for a compelling case of deja vu.

Details of the sentencing were conveniently classified as "secret", so this nerdy, overly conscientious whistleblower is unlikely to see his reputation restored.

[Update 4/12/2016] The folks at Der Spiegel finally take notice of the plight of Mr. K. in this article (in German). That's almost three years after the 2013 article referenced above. Contrasting the two, the absence of questions in the 2013 one are even more striking.

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