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German Helicopter Flies Low Altitude Over US Consulate to Check for Surveillance Gear, Warn US on Spying

By , September 10, 2013.

Der Spiegel reported Monday that the German government has confirmed a previously reported operation targeting potential US spying facilities in Germany in late August.

According to the report, a German Federal Police helicopter circled at an altitude of just 200 feet over the US Consulate in Frankfurt. The main objective was to take high-resolution photographs to identify suspected listening posts on the building’s roof.

However, the Germans may have had an additional motive. As noted in the report, an unnamed official claimed Germany wanted to send a message that eavesdropping technologies would not be tolerated on its soil. Specifically, the message was supposed to be, “Stop. Germany strikes back!”, according to Der Spiegel.

Allegedly, the operation was ordered by Chancellor Merkel’s Chief of Staff Ronald Pofalla. According to the report, while Pofalla believes the NSA scandal has passed, he is furious about reports of spying technologies at US diplomatic outposts in his nation.

As Der Spiegel notes, experts believe the flyover was more symbolic than a serious attempt to locate spy gear. Experts believe the Germans wanted to make it clear they can get more aggressive on this issue, if necessary.

Here’s the kicker: the operation was ordered by Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution. It looks like the German government actually cares about protecting its citizens’ most important rights while the US government destroys them at home and abroad.

Photo credit: Flickr/DirkVorderstraBe

  • Greg

    oh the irony…

  • Henry Keas

    Its one thing to criticize ones own government for its overreaching policies, but when its done from outside, I take particular offense! Despite my german heritage, as far as I’m concerned they can pound sand. If it takes listening to other country’s chatter to ensure the security of MY nation, then so be it!

    • bob howard


      • Tanos

        Why? Because he is concerned about national security? Our Constitution does not apply to foreign nationals. While the government should do at all possible not to actively spy on US citizens, if they want to intercept the chatter of foreign governments and militaries? LET THEM.

        I am of German blood and have nothing against Germany. On the contrary, they have traditionally been among our closest allies since the end of WW2. However, there are many non-Germans within the country that would gladly see them and us destroyed.

  • Karl Scheib

    Frankfurt a European Banking Center. Following their money is a potential Intelligence mission and its not far-fetched to think such monitoring could be happening within the consulate. The Germans may have detected signals that indicate such activities.

  • One Happy Fool

    Aren’t US consulates officially considered to be on US soil? I’m pretty sure the US government can’t legally violate the private airspace above the German consulates within the US. 500′ minimum altitude.