“Ich hätte ihn weggeschickt” says Prof. Joseph Wippl

August 16, 2014

In the early 2000s, Joseph T. Wippl was the Berlin section chief for the CIA. Today he is a professor of the practice of intelligence studies at the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.

As relations between the US and Germany became tense this summer after revelations that American agents had recruited at least one German foreign intelligence officer, Joe Wippl’s opinion mattered on the future of US intelligence relations with Germany, and more broadly, with Europe.

The highly regarded German national news weekly Die Zeit (July 17, 2014) published an exclusive interview with Prof. Wippl (in German, here) focusing on the implications of this incident. The interview was conducted by the Editor of Die Zeit, Jochen Bittner.

In an op-ed in The New York Times (July 13, 2014), Jochen Bittner gave his own views on the issue and quoted Prof. Wippl extensively:

I asked Joseph T. Wippl, who was the C.I.A.’s Berlin station chief in the early 2000s, why the agency had recruited German sources. “The C.I.A. has developed strongly in the direction of a third world agency, in that its officers work in places where the U.S. has great leverage over others and where there is no rule of law,” he said. “They are not used to or have not been trained to work in countries with similar democratic, constitutional institutions.” At the same time, he went on, the Germans had never seemed interested in the level of cooperation that might obviate this sort of unilateral snooping — the sort of treaty relationship that America has with Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, the so-called Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

The subject of what makes a good intelligence officer is obviously close to Prof. Wippl’s heart. This August he published a paper in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (Volume 27, Number 4, 2014) on “The qualities that make a great collection management officer” co-authored with Donna D’Andrea.

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