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Exclusive: Germany’s BND Investigating Migration Risks and Russian Influence in Greece editor’s note: this new study assesses BND outlook, structure, operational procedure, secret migrant interrogation practices, strategic assets and some key targets in Greece, both Greek and Russian, as the migration war takes new and dangerous forms.

By Chris Deliso

Angela Merkel’s cabinet has ordered Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, to document Russian influence on the Greek government- and particularly, its migration policy.

At the same time, German spooks are ramping up a covert program (which began in late August 2015), to infiltrate migration-related NGOs and groups in Greece, Turkey and other countries. Their mission is to investigate migrant trafficking networks and find more evidence of security risks associated with illegal migration. This is necessary for both national security and political/social reasons, as the Balkan route is now closing and calls to restrict migration are getting louder across Europe.

Motivations for the BND’s Increased Operations

The British Sunday Times recently reported that Merkel fears growing Russian influence in Greece, a trend German media has covered since early 2015. But this topic is fundamentally distinct from the German government’s perception of, and shaping of, the migration crisis since that time.

Indeed, both BND investigations were ordered, one European security official states, “because Merkel has been continuously wrongly informed about the migrant situation on the ground” by top advisor Christoph Heusgen. Although Heusgen has decades of experience in senior positions, this source says, “he is not competent on security issues- only diplomatic ones.” Yet a close study of public documents relating to Heusgen’s diplomacy regarding the US, Israel and the Balkans calls even that qualification into question.

Merkel’s trust in Heusgen’s advice has reportedly also exasperated German military and intelligence officials who have a better understanding of the real situation on the ground.

The BND’s increased role is coming at a time when preparations are being made to shut down the Balkan Route for migrants and refugees completely. It thus has three aspects.

The first is political: to provide intelligence that Merkel can use to shift the blame over her own catastrophic migration policy onto Russia and Greece.

The second is pre-emptive: to learn more about a current Greek-Russian plan to destabilize Europe by forcing up to 100,000 migrants to mass on its northern borders, in an attempt to ‘force the borders’ open, which would have the most damage on the Macedonian state (a Greek strategic interest) and cause havoc throughout the region (a Russian one). However, as we reported on February 10, Macedonia has taken measures to protect its border. President Gjorge Ivanov recently repeated “prepared for all scenarios” at a speech for the OSCE in Rome. This speech was basically reprinted in The Telegraph on March 7, and is worth reading in full.

The third aspect of the BND’s mission concerns domestic security: to assess security risks and thus prevent Germany from future terrorist attacks or other migration-related instability, while developing its HUMINT network among both migrant-associated NGOs and individual migrants themselves.

Essentially, what is happening now is a latter-day Great Powers struggle that presents a security risk particularly for Balkan countries trapped in between the Brussels-Berlin-Ankara-Moscow war for the control of Europe.

Ironically for Germany, the expansion of the migration war into Europe has been fueled largely by Angela Merkel’s failure to handle the crisis responsibly from the beginning.

Giving the Order: if not Merkel, Who?

The order for the BND to ramp up activities related to Russian influence in Greece did not come from Merkel directly, one German intelligence specialist tells “In the chancellor’s office, there are two firewalls between Merkel and the BND. First, the Chief of the Federal Chancellery (Chef des Bundeskanzleramtes) Peter Altmaier, and under him the Commissioner for the intelligence services (Beauftragter für die Nachrichtendienste), Klaus-Dieter Fritsche. One of these two men thus communicated – probably verbally – the order to BND chief Gerhard Schindler.

By contrast, BND intelligence-gathering regarding the general migration threat had however long been ongoing, both in Germany and abroad. As we will see, these activities have had domestic and foreign usages and have changed with the operative circumstances. However, our sources indicate that internal disagreements prevented the service from taking a proactive role until it was already basically too late.

Basic BND Facts

The BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst, or Federal Intelligence Service) consists of 12 directorates, employs about 6,500 persons, and has an annual budget surpassing 615 million euros. Its official website provides relatively more public information than do other secret services, because of the German people’s desire for transparency. This is a general reaction to their own difficult history (from the Gestapo to the Stasi and, most recently, Snowden’s revelations of BND-NSA cooperation).

The BND has several domestic installations and runs numerous operations abroad. The latter activity has increased to match Germany’s own increasingly aggressive tendencies in recent years. Further, some domestic activities that have officially been ended are continuing, as we shall see.

Relevant BND Directorates and the Significance of their Work for this Study

The excitement over Edward Snowden’s disclosure has meant that the BND’s directorate for SIGINT has gotten all the press (for example, see this excellent and detailed Zeit Online report from February 2015, based on “secret BND documents”). However, for the current analysis, other directorates are more relevant.

The first is Directorate EA: Areas of Operation and Foreign Relations (Einsatzgebiete/Auslandsbeziehungen). This directorate coordinates BND relations with foreign intelligence agencies. EA also provides intelligence for the protection of German military (and their allies) abroad, and coordinates cooperation with domestic governmental institutions.

Additionally significant are Directorates LA/LB-Regional Analysis and Procurement, A/B countries (Regionale Auswertung und Beschaffung A und Regionale Auswertung und Beschaffung B). These two regional directorates cover foreign political, economic and military affairs, ordering collection assignments to BND operatives abroad.

“For these assignments,” the official website states, “all means of intelligence collection are taken into consideration.” Intelligence collected is then routed back to LA/LB analysts in Germany for evaluation and possible inclusion in situation reports. Directorates LA/LB focus on crisis regions and early crisis detection, and support German military assignments abroad.

Also of relevance is Directorate TE- International Terrorism and Organized Crime (Internationaler Terrorismus und Internationale Organisierte Kriminalität). TE focuses specifically on Islamic terrorism and international organized crime: the latter includes narcotics, illegal migration and money laundering. Directorate TE is the only BND directorate to do both collection and evaluation work internally.

Significantly, Directorate TE liaises with foreign partner services and is the BND’s specific representative in Germany’s Joint Counterterrorism Center, Joint Internet Center in Berlin Treptow and Joint Analysis and Strategy Center for Illegal Migration in Potsdam.

These directorates are most relevant to the present study because they are the ones most involved in the topic areas in question. Their relative success, failure and degree of influence on internal and political leaders would help assess the past, present and future orientation of German foreign intelligence work regarding migration, security, and political relations in foreign countries, in the present case, Russian influence in Greece. Therefore, researchers with awareness of personnel and events can examine the directorates’ role in shaping the BND’s perception of reality and relative ability to affect state policy on these issues.

Information collected separately by indicates that a significant internal problem over the past year has been between field operatives (especially, those from a military/security background) and the armchair civilian analysts. Multiple sources have confirmed that important intelligence from the field was disregarded or underestimated, especially in terms of the migration threat. This could help explain the failure of political leaders to consider the security risks associated with migration until too late.

Yet even within the BND, one expert observer attests, “they were completely surprised by some of the major developments and existence of problematic [migration-related] elements in Greece and Turkey last summer- they had no idea that certain of them even existed!”

This realization led to a rapid acceleration in foreign activities targeting migration networks, carried out or supported by personnel in the above directorates. It is not possible to say simply that Directorate EA failed to learn from its foreign service partners, or that Directorate TE was lax on the migration threat, or that Directorates LA/LB failed in its mandate of early crisis detection. All of these are however possible, and BND internal inspectors would do well to ask such questions when examining their country’s overall failure in the migration crisis.

In fairness, the NSA scandal caused considerable bad press and a loss of trust from key European partners, such as France, Belgium and Austria, which could have hampered cooperation in the present migration crisis. But a June 2015 report in The Telegraph was a bit misleading when it said that “field officers will be brought back under central control,” when actually the ‘reorganization’ discussed specifically concerned SIGINT officers at internally located BND facilities- not HUMINT operatives abroad.

Analysis of BND Key Personnel Supports Thesis

An analysis of key BND personnel further confirms the claim that Merkel’s cabinet, not the BND or military, bears most of the blame for Germany’s epic failure in the migration crisis. The service’s top leaders are all capable and engaged professionals. Therefore, the prime suspects for the national failure are the cabinet (particularly, Christof Heusgen and Merkel herself), and possibly internal misunderstandings and poor analysis somewhere down the food chain, within the directorates specified above.

BND President Gerhard Schindler is considered, by German experts and foreign intelligence officials alike, to be a serious and driven “man of action,” well-suited for the job. A positive feature on Schindler published on September 2, 2014 by German journalist Uwe Müller stated that Schindler sought “to mold the BND into his own image.” Müller attested that the BND chief wanted to re-orient the service into running more active, daring and aggressive operations. “We have to be the first in and the last out,” Germany’s top spy is quoted as saying. Schindler also encouraged the BND to take “well-calculated risks,” in accord with the motto, “no risk, no fun.”

In the article, Schindler’s predecessor, Social Democrat Ernst Uhrlau, is derided as a lightweight who “would have loved to transform the BND into a large think tank, an institute for clever strategic analyses with a small connected agent department. At least that is what those familiar with internal activities report.”

Under Schindler, approximately 300 topic secret reports per month are produced for the “German Armed Forces, Parliament, Ministries and, last but not least, the Federal Chancellery of Angela Merkel, to which the BND is the only service to directly report.”

Another key BND official is top vice president (since replacing Géza Andreas von Geyr in 2014) Michael Klor-Berchtold. This officer has a strong background in difficult areas that are relevant to today’s migration crisis. For example, in 2007 he served as Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and as ambassador to Yemen.

Another senior BND official is Major General Norbert Stier, Vice President for Military Affairs. Prior to his present posting in 2010, Stier had served in numerous military and military intelligence posts for decades, most recently as deputy director of the military intelligence division at NATO’s International Military Staff in Brussels. But Stier also has Balkan experience which should be useful in the present crisis, considering that in 2005 he served as commander of KFOR’s Multinational Brigade Southwest in Prizren, Kosovo.

New BND Task Force Created for Russia-Greece Issues

Multiple informed sources have confirmed for that the BND has increased its existing analysis of “Russian propaganda”- and is even expanding it in the case of Greece.

The Russia issue remains “in the regular intelligence briefings for the Federal Chancellery,” says the German intelligence expert. “Recently the BND was requested to monitor the subject closer and has built a task force.”

In addition to searching social networks “for hints that Russia tries to influence refugees” to go to Germany for economic benefit, this source notes that “the BND is good in HUMINT too, and has never cut such operations, like the NSA and the CIA did.”

The BND’s Secret Migrant Interrogation Program: Domestic Context

Reinhard Gehlen, the former Nazi and CIA-backed first BND director, also oversaw the secret HBW (‘Main Office for Questioning of Beings,’ or Hauptstelle für Befragungswesen). Established in 1958, the organization was used to interrogate incoming migrants. It used undercover BND agents, and even allowed British and American services to interrogate asylum seekers- a natural continuation of the Allied wartime interrogation of captured soldiers.

The BND sub-unit was based in Berlin, with facilities in other places including Nuremberg, Wiesbaden and Hannover. It was active also in refugee camps within Germany, where BND staff worked undercover. Mostly, the migrants interrogated came from conflict-zone countries.

The HBW became a hot political topic after being uncovered in 2011, and especially when Süddeutsche Zeitung reported in November 2013 that intelligence gathered from its migrant camps was being used in subsequent US drone strike targeting. The newspaper also reported that asylum-seekers were sometimes promised favorable application decisions in return for informing about Islamist groups or other threats from their home countries (the Merkel government has tried to deny this).

On December 3, 2013, Süddeutsche Zeitung additionally reported that the government had just announced the HBW’s closure. However, while the secret interrogation program was supposedly closed in June 2014, new information appeared in a Die Zeit article on January 14, 2016. This article revealed that government claims were “not entirely true.” While the government said that migrant interrogation would from then on be conducted “directly in the crisis regions abroad,” the newspaper cited internal intelligence documents and other sources to claim that both the BND and BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, or Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution- Germany’s domestic intelligence service) were still actively present in the teeming refugee camps today.

From the perspective of the intelligence services, the information being provided by people from Syria, Iraq or Eritrea is “a treasure.” Further, the Zeit report claims, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, Bamf) remains an “important informer of the secret services.” Aside from the historic practice of using migrants as informants, the report suggests there is a regular practice of Bamf administrators and security officials selecting interesting candidates from asylum applications- in 2013/2014 alone the BfV “received information about 200 interesting applicants,” while the BND got 435 application cases.

This situation invites a paradox: while intelligence services naturally desire as much information from as many sources as possible, and thus benefit from the presence of so many migrants, the latter also constitute a national security threat in their very presence- thus complicating and compounding the work of internal security agencies, including police and other less specialized bodies.

Despite this threat, the continuation and expansion, as we will see, of the German program confirms yet again that, as predicted in our annual security forecast, 2016 will mark the “return of HUMINT” on a major scale.

BND Secret Migrant Interrogation Operations Abroad

As said, the backlash from the 2013 revelations led the Merkel government to announce the end of migrant interrogations on German soil. As we have just seen, that is a lie, but that is not the interesting aspect here. What is interesting is to explore further the existing – and increasing – role of the BND in interrogating migrants and refugees abroad.

According to numerous informed sources, this program is being driven by the personal determination and operating philosophy of BND President Gerhard Schindler. In government hearings, he has stated that the BND has transferred interrogation operations abroad.

The German intelligence expert notes that the BND “possibly questions refugees in Greece undercover,” but was less sure about cooperation in such cases between the BND and the Greek National Intelligence Service (NIS), which if it has any sense of responsibility would be the lead actor on its home turf.

But other sources confirmed information for that goes much further, attesting that the BND currently has a vast network of undercover interrogation operations, everywhere from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Egypt and Eritrea.

“After they learned the size of the risk,” says the European intelligence officer, “the BND started to infiltrate most NGOs in Greece and Turkey, and other places, involved in any aspect of migration. They use everyone from exchange students to anarchists to deputy directors of major charities.”

Similarly, the Zeit investigation also stated that “BND spies and secret service agents were conveniently with the UNHCR.” Other sources support this assertion, and suggest looking at “deputy director or similar assistant positions where the BND hides their people, with less chance of being spotted.”

Throughout the migration crisis, many NGOs and related advocates on the ground have either been German or backed by Germans. (The British and Dutch are also well-represented among the migration enablers). According to several sources, the vast, Germany-based ‘Welcome to Europe’ network – famous for providing specialized ‘travel guides’ to migrants – has been infiltrated by the BND since late August.

W2EU is just one of many such organizations. But the BND infiltration is doubly beneficial and – again, keeping in mind the above specified directorates – is very useful for finding other practical information. This is because on the Turkey-Greece route, migration overlaps with nearly everything: terrorism, all kinds of organized crime, political factions such as violent anarchists and left-wing terrorists, social movements, right-wing extremists, and foreign governmental influences. The migration issue thus provides a perfect way for the BND, and other services like it, to trawl for information on a host of important issues.

Behind the BND Investigation of Russian Influence in Greece: the Siege at the Macedonian Border

As stated above, the new BND task force on Russian influence has political aspects. sources indicate that Angela Merkel, chronically misinformed by Christoph Heusgen and other top advisors, believed that a closure of the Balkan Route would convince migrants to stay in Turkey, from where they would be flown to Germany. That typical German logic did not turn out to be correct, however, as Greece remains flooded with migrants (over 130,000 since January alone).

Now, a Greek decision has been made to mass 100,000 migrants on the Macedonian border, as a protracted siege meant to break the border. The situation is highly volatile, but the Macedonians seem unworried. At the same time, Bulgaria and Albania have sent troops to their borders, as they fear Greece will expand the siege and destabilize these two countries- which unlike Macedonia, are NATO members.

Merkel’s early February negotiations with Erdoğan and Tsipras were overshadowed, however, by less welcome news that partly led the BND to spring into action. Since then, they have been horrified to learn that key pro-Russian leaders in the Greek government are working, much to the pleasure of Moscow, on flooding the northern borders with up to 100,000 migrants.

The Greek gamble is that the EU and Germany will ‘protect’ Greece, and thus not force whatever massed migrants accumulate to return to Athens or go elsewhere. For Russia, the prospect of seeing Greece continue towards explosion, and even a violent migrant breakthrough of Balkan borders that would destabilize Europe, is highly appealing in the present geopolitical climate.

Greek police have repeatedly allowed migrants to attack Macedonian border fences, without intervening. And every day, Greek authorities continue to bus thousands northward. The military is building migrant camps for 20,000 people just south of Lake Dojran, which it shares with Macedonia. Russian media has intensified its presence in Greece, and particularly now in the Idomeni-Gevgelija border area, and will continue to broadcast the unrest as part of the hybrid war with Brussels and Berlin.

The two major Greek officials associated with the ‘break the borders’ policy are the defense minister, Panos Kammenos, and Nikos Kotsias, the foreign minister. The former’s right-wing Independent Greeks party was not given control of the interior ministry following its coalition with Syriza, but it did receive significant control at the sub-ministry level of the northern borders. This means Greek police along Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania are under Kammenos’ indirect control.

Nikos Kotzias, on the other hand, is a well-known leftist who was nominated by Tsipras and Syriza to head the foreign ministry. The thing that both officials have in common is a special connection with Russia- as German media has documented, and as the BND is intently working on investigating now.

Independently, our sources confirm that psychology played a role in the Russian selection process: “Kammenos is a not too bright nationalist who wants to be respected as a ‘tough guy,’ and Kotzias is a typical Syriza intellectual with big theories he wants to be recognized for,” says one Greek analyst for “The Russians were easily able to exploit these weaknesses.”

Russian Influence in Greece: The Zeit Online Investigation

The media definitely influences intelligence targeting, and for this reason it is relevant to mention a high-profile case that put certain prominent Russian and Greek figures on the BND’s radar. It is not clear exactly how this case influenced the direction of operations, but it is likely that it had an effect and also provoked the conditions for Russia to redevelop and expand its intelligence network in Greece.

This occurred with another Zeit Online investigation. The February 7, 2015 report claimed that Syriza and Independent Greeks had long been courted by Russian ideological leaders, diplomats and businessmen.

The report depended on 700 emails of a former Russian embassy official in Athens, Georgy Gavrish, sent from May 2010 through November 2014 (a year after Gavrish had returned to Russia). They had allegedly been hacked in December 2014 by an anti-Russian cyber group. Zeit Online began with a list of wedding guests that Bulgarian pro-Ukraine activist Christo Grozev uploaded here. The fall 2014 wedding of two Greek aristocrats happened in Moscow, because the best man – Russian tycoon Konstantin Malofeyev – was prevented from entering the EU due to his alleged support for Russian separatists in Ukraine. The first guest on the list was Panos Kammenos. has independently confirmed that Malofeyev is considered a particularly important supporter of the ‘break the borders’ stratagem now being undertaken by Kammenos and Kotzias on the Macedonian border. Because of his perceived past involvement in Ukraine and Crimea, this interest has raised alarms among the Americans.

Zeit Online claimed that Gavrish was connected with Malofeyev, who is also a strong supporter of the Russian Orthodox Church (which will be prominent at a historic pan-Orthodox synod in Crete this June) and that he “belongs to the inner circle of the Russian ideologue Alexander Dugin, a proponent of neo-Eurasianism.”

Zeit Online further relates Dugin to Greek journalist Dimitris Konstantakopoulos (who wrote this refutation to the newspaper). Additionally mentioned is Greek intellectual Nikos Laos, reportedly “also a partner at R-Techno, a Russian private-security firm. Its founder, Roman Romachev, worked for the Russia domestic intelligence agency FSB between 1997 and 2002, where he was in charge of counterintelligence.”

More important is the connection to Nikos Kotzias who, “while still a professor at the University of Piraeus, commissioned several studies that were supposed to investigate the Greek population’s stance toward Russia. From the hacked emails, it emerges that Kotzias personally passed on the results of these studies to Gavrish in June 2013.”

According to the report, Kotzias wrote that “Russia is a potential military and economic ally that [the Greek people] respect and appear to know relatively well.” Further, he adds, “many Greeks have been let down by their traditional allies and have consequently turned toward Russia.” While a Greek MFA spokesman responded to Zeit Online that Kotzias had not been in contact with Dugin, “the trove of leaked emails also includes a group photograph, apparently taken in Greece, showing Kotzias with Dugin and other individuals,” the report concludes.

According to Zeit Online, the Kammenos-Russia connection was also strong. Well before the 2015 elections, “an organisation called ‘Centre for Strategic Research’ and managed by Kammenos signed a long-term cooperation with the Russian Centre for Strategic Research.” According to the German report, the latter is “a structure of the FSB chaired by a Major General of KGB-FSB.”

BND Targets in Greece: Russian

In addition to the personalities listed in the Zeit Online article, can confirm other targets of the BND in the present and future period. They involve Russian diplomats, Russian cultural centers, publications, businesses and other persons, as well as Greek officials and businessmen.

Russia has one of the biggest diplomatic presences in Greece, with some 58 accredited diplomats. By comparison, the US has 72 diplomats in Athens, and Germany, only 27. The size of the mission, compounded by Russia’s continual network development in the post-Gavrish period, has left an ongoing challenge for both America and Germany.

While no specific names are being given, an intelligence officer from one of these allied countries states that “they have very recently officially brought in one guy under diplomatic cover, who had been active with a lot of local contacts in Greece over many years while in other functions…. Another person of interest for the BND is one relatively new third secretary who the Bulgarians used to cover for them. That’s all I will say.”

Among media outlets being watched are the Greek Russian-language newspaper Afinskiy Kurer (Athens Courier) and its staff. Also under German watch is the Pushkin Institute in Athens, the embassy-affiliated Russian Centre of Science and Culture, and Russia’s international cooperation agency.

BND Targets in Greece: Greek

The BND, under “man of action” President Schindler, is using its established HUMINT networks, which have been bolstered by assets gained during the migrant crisis. These include left-wing activists who have ties with both the migration cause, the Syriza party, and more radical left entities. But it is also investigating right-wing, pro-Russian groups as well.

On the Greek side, a major BND target after Kammenos, Kotzias and their close associates, is Evangelos Kalpadakis, Diplomatic Adviser to Prime Minister Tsipras. Intelligence made available to suggests that Kalpadakis played the central role in keeping Merkel in the dark about the possibilities of chaos on the Macedonian border, while working closely with Kotsias, Kammenos and Malofeyev to create conditions for ‘breaking the border’ with 100,000 migrants.

The BND is also assessing the outcome of a meeting held in mid-February between Kammenos and Aleksey Pushkov, head of the Duma’s foreign affairs committee. Two other persons of interest also involved were the speaker of parliament, Nikos Voutsis and Konstantinos Douzinas, chairman of the Greek parliament’s international committee.

Within Kammenos’ Independent Greeks party, the main focus of German interest is Gavriil Avramidis, an MP from Thessaloniki with longtime activities in the Pontic Greek communities, and various groups for Greek-Russian cooperation.

German spies have been also interested in Nikolaos Meletiou, the mayor of Aspropyrgos. This town north of Athens in early 2015 announced planned cooperation with Feodosia in Crimea, with plans for its Attica TV to broadcast an increasing number of Russian programs and movies.

German ‘Soft Power’ in Greece as a Means for Intelligence Activity

The BND also benefits from Germany’s long-existing ‘soft power’ networks in Greece. Some will be used in addition to official BND staff and pick-ups from the migrant-related operations. These include politically-affiliated NGOs and foundations, educational institutes and schools; honorary consulates and trade cooperation chambers, as well as private businesses.

It is also possible that, in terms of long-term logistical necessities involving migrants, the investment by Germany’s Fraport (in December 2015) in 14 regional airports can be useful for emergency migrant removal in the more remote areas, thus meaning they don’t all need to return to Athens.

The context for building ‘soft power’ had little to do with either migrants or Russia, however. Merkel in recent years sought funding for foundations to improve the image of Germany among Greeks, and amplify political influence. The BND is no doubt not far behind. Back in 2012, she agreed with Papandreou to open six major German foundations linked to German political parties. The German Bundestag allocated 5 million euros for their activities, during the period 2012-2015.

The largest is the center-right Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which works with the upper-echelon Greek institutes and universities. In 2014, they held an event on the dangers of Russia. But the German foundations run the gamut, for example, also represented is the (Green Party-linked) Heinrich Boll Stiftung. This presents a good counterintelligence option for the BND, considering that the Greens have been most active in the Bundestag on anti-BND inquiries, which are broadly in the Russian interest, and thus any contacts between Greens and Russians in Greece would be key information for the BND. Of significance in another way is the far-left Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung (associated with DIE LINKE) which helps get Germans in touch with the most migrant-friendly persons and groups in Greek society.

The CSU-linked Hanns Seidel Zeitung and the Social Democrats- linked Friedrich Ebert Stiftung have also been represented in Greece since 2012 under the Merkel-Papandreou agreement. The FES is of interest to the BND because its local director, Christos Katsioulis because he spent five years in FES-Brussels as an expert on foreign and security policy.

Also important is the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (associated with the FDP party in Germany), because its program manager, Markus Kaiser. Between 2007 and 2011 was personal assistant of Werner Hoyer, who was first the deputy group leader of the FDP and then State Minister in the German Foreign Office. The group arranges regular events of interest to the BND. Of less importance to the BND is the left-wing Heinrich Böll Stiftung, though its location in Thessaloniki is useful for contacts with the pro-migrant left very active in that city; the foundation has been active in pro-migrant legislation proposals.

Conclusions: BND Results in the Months Ahead

The foregoing analysis and revelations indicate that the German intelligence service, driven by a capable and demanding leader, is frantically trying to make up for the Merkel government’s political failure, and to forestall migrant-related risks.

These risks include internal security threats from migrants, and a dangerous potential Greek-Russian attempt to break Europe’s southern borders by amassing 100,000 migrants on the border. The fulfillment of either scenario would be disastrous for Germany, and the entire European project.

Further, the Greek plan is self-defeating, as no matter how many migrants they choose to send north, more will keep coming. The open-door policy, and Turkish position of strength at the access point, indicates that Greece cannot expect to have sovereignty over its own territory. The only thing that can be done is to keep the bleeding from spreading while European officials rush to find a solution at the source of the inflows.

Until that time, and well beyond it, we can expect the BND to use the migration crisis to expand its HUMINT resources throughout the Eurasian and African theaters of operation. This, more than any political agreements, may in 5-10 years, help Germany regain its desired status as a world leader.