German spies helped US invasion

The NY Times has a story about an odd bit of information from pre-invasion Iraq: apparently German spies in Baghdad provided pretty important information about the Iraqi defenses to the US-led invasion forces.

Two German intelligence agents in Baghdad obtained a copy of Saddam Hussein’s plan to defend the Iraqi capital, which a German official passed on to American commanders a month before the invasion, according to a classified study by the United States military.

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.
German Intelligence Gave U.S. Iraqi Defense Plan, Report Says, by Michael Gordon, NY Times, Feb. 26, 2006.

Although Germany’s then-chancellor Schröder vigorously argued against the invasion, German troops did perform duties that directly, and controversially, supported the war: they manned AWACS planes and checked for possible effects of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in Kuwait. Germany was, and is, a major logistics hub for the US military, and German troops provide security at those facilities. So Germany was hardly neutral in this conflict, despite all the political rhetoric. Of course, now we know that Chancellor Schröder was angling for his Gazprom job, so he may have already been working for his new boss Putin.

Morally, the invasion was wrong, I think. For Germany it would have been better to stay neutral. But that would have created a major confrontation with the US, and no one in the German government then had the stomach for that. So now we’re all so “schockiert” that German spooks supplied plans to the US? I mean, once these guys had the plans for the defense of Baghdad, what were they going to do with them? Return them to Saddam’s guys? “Hey look what I found in my fax machine! I think this belongs to you guys ….” Sure, they went to General Tommy with that. Big deal. At that point, the invasion was going to happen anyway. So making it easier for the Americans to oust Saddam was not an unreasonable moral choice.

2 Responses to “German spies helped US invasion”

  1. BlackRiverEagle Says:

    Aach du Scheisse! Wirchlich? Does this mean that Gerhard & Joschka LIED to the German people and to the world about their stand on Iraq? Or did the BND (German Intelligence Service) act on its own, again?

    BTW, these guys from the BND are not “spies” but are German foreign intelligence agents and were registered as such with the regime of Saddam Hussein. The big story should be, “Why the Hell were they even there if the German government knew that combat was about to begin?”. Germany wouldn’t have dared send “spies” to Iraq shortly before the buildup to war, that would be immoral and unethical.

    Right now the German press and public are focused on the pressing and life-threatening issues of Bird Flu (it’s already been confirmed in birds and CATS here) and whether public service employees should be forced to work a 40-hour week without an increase in pay (they presently work only 38.5 hours per week, if at all). Due to the strikes garbage is laying all over the place in states such as Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) and Kindergarten teachers are refusing to go to work, leaving the toddlers at home to drive their parents crazy or even worse to roam the streets in toddler gangs looking for trouble.

    There’s lots more on the Iraq Spy Scandal over at Der Spiegel’s International site in case your English language readers are interested.
    Here is the link to the Spiegel International coverage:,1518,403486,00.html

  2. yovo Says:

    no, I don’t think they lied when they said they opposed the Iraq invasion. But we do know now _why_ Schroeder was so opposed to it, as Gazprom had major investments in Saddam’s gas fields.

    I am sure that bird flu is a much more pressing issue than re-hashing this stuff. I hope that folks are starting to prepare for the pandemic – I can tell you that that’s on our minds these days.