• Germany's news in English
 

Court jails NATO man for data spying

AFP · 20 Nov 2013, 08:39

Published: 20 Nov 2013 08:39 GMT+01:00

The 61-year-old man, identified only as Manfred K., had worked for the transatlantic military alliance at the US airbase of Ramstein in Germany but left his job after a dispute.

"The disclosure of the files would allow a potential enemy of NATO to gain access to the secret network of NATO," the court found.

It rejected the man's claim that he had wanted to point out security gaps when he copied the data and hid it on USB memory sticks in his kitchen and
basement last year.

The man copied passwords for NATO computer systems, server locations and other information that would have enabled a cyber attack, the court in the western city of Koblenz found.

The IT expert, who had worked for NATO for more than 30 years, copied the data in March 2012 and failed in an attempt to obtain more in June but left NATO shortly afterward.

He has been in detention since his arrest in August 2012.

The data were the "crown jewels" and "operative heart" of the system and would have allowed a foreign power to launch a cyber attack with "devastating impact", said presiding judge Andreas Völpel, according to national news agency DPA.

Potential takers for the data would have been the Chinese or Russian intelligence services, the court found.

The defendant had earlier denied the charge, saying: "I was never a traitor. I am not and never was an enemy of NATO, only of the security sloppiness of employees."

The sentence for treasonable espionage was only slightly milder than the seven-and-a-half years that prosecutors had sought.

Story continues below…

Defence lawyers said they may appeal the ruling.

READ MORE: Private US firms 'spying in Germany'

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Anti-Islam groups rally across Europe
Several thousand Pegida supporters turned up in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Anti-Islam groups rally across Europe
19 minutes ago

A march by Germany's anti-Islamic organisation Pegida drew thousands to the eastern city of Dresden on Saturday on a day that saw rallies across Europe in support of the movement.

'Germany must take fewer refugees' - Catholic church
Cardinal Reinhard Marx said the response to the migrant crisis should not solely be a matter of "charity but also reason." Photo: DPA

'Germany must take fewer refugees' - Catholic church
2 hours ago

The German Catholic Church called for a reduction in the influx of refugees arriving in Germany, saying the country cannot take in "all the world's needy," according to an interview published on Saturday.

German FA launches action against Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer (L) with suspended FIFA president, Sepp Blatter. Photo: DPA

German FA launches action against Beckenbauer
7 hours ago

German football chiefs on Friday launched a lawsuit involving Franz Beckenbauer, world governing body FIFA, two former German federation (DFB) presidents as well as the former head of adidas as part of the 2006 World Cup scandal.

Auschwitz guard, 93, to face trial in April
Barbed wire fences at the Auschwitz death camp. File photo: DPA

Auschwitz guard, 93, to face trial in April
1 day ago

A 93-year-old former SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp will stand trial in April for accessory to murder, a German court said Friday.

Terror raids in Berlin and NRW
None of 'Isis arrests' were for plotting terror attack: police
A photo released by police on Friday of one of the suspects. Photo: Berlin Polizei

None of 'Isis arrests' were for plotting terror attack: police
1 day ago

Police confirmed to The Local on Friday that none of the people taken into custody on Thursday were arrested for planning an act of terrorism.

Journalist 'groped' in front of live camera in Cologne
Esmeralda Labye. Screen shot: RTBF

Journalist 'groped' in front of live camera in Cologne
1 day ago

A Belgian journalist has said she was groped while on live television at the Cologne Karneval.

Germany struggling under massive asylum backlog
Refugees queuing outside a refugee home. File Photo: DPA

Germany struggling under massive asylum backlog
1 day ago

German authorities are struggling to process hundreds of thousands of asylum applications, the head of the country's refugee office admitted Friday, even though a record influx of migrants was finally slowing.

Customs seize 'stinking' ape skull from traveller's luggage
Photo: Hauptzollamt München/DPA

Customs seize 'stinking' ape skull from traveller's luggage
1 day ago

Customers officers did a double-take at Munich airport last week when a suitcase belonging to a man arriving from Thailand turned out to contain the reeking skull of an unfortunate ape.

Cologne opens Karneval on edge after sex attacks
Security in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Cologne opens Karneval on edge after sex attacks
1 day ago

Cologne opened its annual carnival Thursday with ramped-up security to prevent a repeat of the sex assaults that marred New Year and triggered a debate about Germany's ability to integrate asylum seekers.

How Trump planned Europe's tallest tower in Frankfurt
Photos: Michael Vadon, Kiefer/Wikimedia Commons.

How Trump planned Europe's tallest tower in Frankfurt
2 days ago

Fifteen years before Donald Trump rocketed to the forefront of the Republican fight for the White House, he had his sights set on an ambitious project in Frankfurt.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Culture
10 essential words you'll need when visiting Cologne carnival
Technology
Army presents new camo pattern that can fool night vision goggles
Health
Disabled people explain what life is like for them in Germany
International
How to vote in the US election when you live abroad
Business & Money
The small town planning to get rid of small change
National
Top five inventions of Germany's 'patent king'
National
Pensioner crushed in hospital machine
Politics
Could Bernie Sanders get elected in Germany?
Society
Most German conservatives back gay marriage: poll
Politics
'Russia aims to weaken the EU. The refugee crisis is an opportunity.'
Gallery
Eight wonders of the world's biggest toy fair in Nuremberg
National
Islamists and Neo-Nazis both ready for violence, say spies
Frankfurt
Drunk-driving cop tries to escape through toilet window
Berlin
How Berlin Bowie fans paid tribute with art on ice
Police fight rumours they've been hiding truth on refugees
Berlin
Brave passengers grab man accused of shoving woman under train
National
Software bug means German jets can't fly at night
Rhineland
First suspects arrested after Cologne sexual assaults
Politics
Berlin to North Africa: take deportees or give up aid cash
Lifestyle
10 ways German inventors have made the world a better place
Society
Town bans male asylum seekers from swimming pools
Travel
Tourist sues Airbnb after finding hidden camera in German flat
Society
Polls show Germans fear the country can't manage refugees
7,163
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd