Germany accuses Iran, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Russia, China of espionage

Syria suspected of using migrants as agents to infiltrate Germany

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as seen in Damascus, Syria November 14, 2017. (photo credit: SANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as seen in Damascus, Syria November 14, 2017.
The intelligence service of the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg on Monday accused Iran, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Russia and China of espionage activities.
The Jerusalem Post’s review of the 181-page intelligence document authored by German officials shows that Syria’s regime is believed to have exploited migration waves to maximize its covert activities in Germany. Jordan, which has previously not appeared in prior intelligence documents, engaged in espionage in the federal republic.
“With the progressive stabilization of the regime in the civil war, the Syrian intelligence services are again able to work at home and abroad. The main task remains to research opponents of the regime. This includes Islamist groups as well as secular and Kurdish opposition groups. With the migration movements in recent years, both opponents and supporters of the regime have come to Germany. The number of references to spying attempts among Syrians living here has been increasing for years. It can be assumed that the Syrian services will also use the migration movement to infiltrate agents,” said the intelligence report.
The intelligence report stated that, “States such as India or Jordan, which previously had little or no focus on security agencies in Germany, also developed intelligence activities. In Russia and China in particular, the intelligence services are now increasingly turning their attention to people who are there for a long time, professionally or privately. These include, in particular, family members of diplomatic missions and government officials, company representatives, academics or students.”
The report did not outline the nature of the Jordanian state espionage activities.
The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Thomas Haldenwang, told a parliamentary committee in 2019 that “Espionage in Germany has reached a level that we have not seen since the Cold War.” The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the formal name for Germany’s domestic intelligence service, monitors terrorism and security threats to the country’s democratic constitutional system.
The report said that “The advancing digitization in administration and economy and the increasing networking of industrial production with the latest information and communication technology open up new opportunities for espionage. Various locations in Baden-Württemberg have been in focus in the past year for suspected intelligence-led cyberattacks. Russia remains unchanged in this area; China and Iran are the main players.”
According to the report, the main actors in the sectors of electronic warfare and cyberattacks are Russia, Iran, China and Turkey.
“In Baden-Württemberg, it became known that suspected Chinese intelligence officials had spied on Uyghur asylum seekers from China in order to transmit the data obtained to the Chinese authorities,” wrote the intelligence officials.
Germany has allowed lax oversight of Iranian espionage activities over the years, according to critics. Iran’s regime uses its vast espionage structure and agents to conduct surveillance on Iranian dissidents and political opponents in Germany, multiple intelligence reports have noted. Prosecutors and Germany’s foreign ministry have tended to avoid confrontation with countries that engage in espionage within the territory of the federal republic. Germany has long remained a hotbed of spying activities.