BERLIN — Germany's aerospace center denied Monday that it is working with the US on a $270 million high-tech secret spy program, insisting that its plans for a high-resolution optical satellite have purely scientific and security uses.
US State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks and revealed by Norwegian daily Aftenposten say Germany joined a partnership with the US to create a satellite spying program that was presented as a commercial enterprise, but is actually run by the German intelligence service and the German Aerospace Center, DLR.
German Aerospace Center spokesman Andreas Schuetz said that such a project for a high-resolution optical satellite has been in discussion for the past two years under the name HIROS.
"HIROS is neither a spy satellite, nor a secret project," Schuetz said. He insisted that the project was to be used only for government purposes, "for example crisis management during natural catastrophes and for scientific uses."