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German spy received US medal for support to combat operations in Iraq in 2003

The German government acknowledged that two German intelligence agents based in Bagdad provided the United States with a few military coordinates during the 2003 invasion, but rejected allegations that they aided the U.S. bombing campaign. However, one of the agents received an US military award. The German government's declassified report to a parliamentary oversight committee quotes the US laudation for the German agent (page 35):
The United States of America [...] has awarded The Meritorious Service Medal to [...] German Army, for exceptionally meritorious achievement as Senior Analyst from 1 February 2003 to 30 April 2003. His critical information to United States Central Command to support combat operations in Iraq reflects great credit upon himself and the German Federal Armed Services, and the friendship between Germany and the United States of America.
The German government describes the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) agent's contribution as less significant than the laudation suggests and argues that the medal was awarded as a gesture in support of the German-American relationship, which would have been remarkable because at that time Germany was quite unpopular in the US due to its anti-Iraq war policy. The Schroeder government's strong criticism of the US led Iraq war and the former chancellor's pre-election pledge not to involve Germany in the Iraq war is the main reason why this affair has become such a sensitive subject in Germany.

In January the government said that the intelligence agency gave only the coordinates of non-targets (hospitals, mosques, synagogues, and embassies) to the US, but now the government report admits that the agency informed the US of seven military targets as well. Two of the three opposition parties called for an in-depth parliamentary inquiry (Untersuchungsausschuss) into the Federal Intelligence Service's involvement during the Iraq war, their role in interrogations of terror suspects abroad as well as the alleged CIA renditions, in particular the case of the German citizen El-Masri.
Because both the Green Party and the Left Party only have small number of parliamentary seats, it depends on the third opposition party (the Liberal Democrats) whether there will be parliamentary inquiry.

More English language coverage in the International Herald Tribune and in DW-World.
More detailed coverage in German in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in Frankfurter Rundschau and Die Zeit's Beruf Terrorist.
Those who still think Germany did nothing but obstruct US policies on Iraq, might also want to read the German embassy's fact sheet German Aid for the Stabilization and Reconstruction of Iraq.  The embassy has additional fact sheets concerning Reconstructing the Afghan PoliceGerman Military Contributions in International Missions in Afghanistan, Operation Active Endeavour and Enduring Freedom, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina or Fight Against International Terrorism.

Endnote: The NY Times reports that
the German government has criticized the United States for the abduction of El-Masri for more than a year, but now "the police and prosecutors opened an investigation into whether Germany served as a silent partner of the United States."


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Olaf Petersen on :

More than 10% in German secret service BND have military ranks and you can bet that their residents operating in Iraq 2003 were officers of Bundeswehr reconaissance. Previous Chancellor Schröder lied when he promised Germany not to get involved in the Iraqi theatre of war, the opposite is correct - and more: No other nation's soldiers received, proportionally, higher honors in this war. 1 out of 2 ain't bad, right?

dietrich on :

Information to other readers: Olaf Petersen runs a german neoconservative weblog!

Olaf Petersen on :

Objection: Though I don't feel insulted being called a neocon, I don't carry that flag. In other words: I support the American foreign- and security politics, but not George Bush's political agenda per se. Olaf Petersen, pro-american left-of-center blogger.

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