A few days before Christmas, a convoy of security vehicles invaded a quiet corner of Weilheim, a quaint Bavarian town of pastel squares and fastidiously kept cobblestone streets. Their target seemed as unassuming as the setting: a local children’s soccer coach.
Nothing ever stood out about the man, fellow coaches recalled. He was not short, but not tall — friendly, yet never wanting to discuss anything but soccer. Grasping for words, most landed on the same choice: “unremarkable.”
That changed when they learned he had been arrested on charges of treason and spying for Russia in one of the gravest espionage scandals in recent German history.
The coach, a 52-year-old former German soldier, worked for Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, or B.N.D., as a director of technical reconnaissance — the unit responsible for cybersecurity and surveilling electronic communications. It contributes about half of the spy agency’s daily intelligence volume.
As a Russian mole, he would have had access to critical information gathered since Moscow invaded Ukraine last year. He may have obtained high-level surveillance, not only from German spies, but also from Western partners, like the C.I.A. [Continue reading…]