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News Link • Surveillance

Interview with Ex-Stasi Agent: 'The Scope of NSA Surveillance Surprised Me'


SPIEGEL: You worked with the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA), East Germany's foreign intelligence agency within the Ministry for State Security, or Stasi. From the perspective of a professional, how good was the NSA in the 1980s?

Eichner: Among all the Western agencies that were involved in communications intelligence, the NSA was the leader and the top intelligence agency -- from the perspective of both their equipment and their personnel.

SPIEGEL: How eager was the NSA back then to collect data?

Eichner: Even then, they wanted to know everything, but they didn't have all of the technical abilities to collect and process it all.

SPIEGEL: In your book about the NSA, which was just recently published, you describe how the Stasi managed to access internal NSA information.

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