Please join us on July 16, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for an Atlantic Council members’ conference call with Annette Heuser, executive director of the Bertelsmann Foundation and Robert Kimmitt, senior international counsel for Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP. The event will be moderated by Atlantic Council President and CEO Fred Kempe.

In a conversation moderated by the Atlantic Council’s Fred Kempe, Annette Heuser, of the Bertelsmann Foundation, and Ambassador Robert Kimmitt, former US ambassador to Germany, discussed the impact of the recent revelations of further US covert activities that culminated in Berlin’s expulsion of the CIA’s chief of station on July 10. Both Ms. Heuser and Ambassador Kimmitt emphasized the importance of the US-German relationship, citing the partnership as potentially Washington’s most valuable bilateral tie. However, the discovery of additional American intelligence activities in Germany has reignited not only German, but general European outrage, widening the perception that the United States no longer considers its allies when making decisions on intelligence collection. Recently returned from Berlin, Ms. Heuser noted a resulting expansion of disillusionment with the United States to include both the general public and political elites.

Nonetheless, Ambassador Kimmitt remained optimistic that, if handled correctly, the US-German partnership can recover and flourish. Ambassador Kimmitt advocated that Washington recast the US-German dialogue as a broader strategic relationship encompassing military, economic, and intelligence dimensions, a recognition of Germany’s importance as a prominent US ally. Ms. Heuser agreed on the need to revamp the partnership, noting that additional scandals would prove to be a” nail in the coffin” for the close bond between Berlin and Washington. Additionally, she asserted that a substantive dialogue must occur, as the United States cannot afford “window dressing” when the relationship has returned to the low point that marked the period following the Edward Snowden leaks. Consequently, the US government would benefit from undertaking a rigorous cost-benefit analysis in which higher level officials examine the need to continue intelligence operations that carry the risk of detrimental political ramifications. As Ambassador Kimmitt noted, “just because an intelligence agency can do something, doesn’t mean it should.”

Member’s Conference Call Series and the Transatlantic Relations Program present: Spying Scandal 2.0: Will the German-American Partnership Survive?

A discussion with

Ms. Annette Heuser
Executive Director
Bertelsmann Foundation

The Hon. Robert M. Kimmitt
American Council on Germany

Moderated by

Mr. Frederick Kempe
President and CEO
Atlantic Council

On Wednesday, only days after the arrest of a suspected double agent working for a German foreign intelligence agency, news broke of a second suspected US spy, this time involved with the German defense ministry. The following day, the US intelligence chief in Berlin was expelled from the country in an emphatic statement from the German government. As the most powerful foreign policy actor in Europe, Germany has long been an important ally to the United States on issues ranging from Russian aggression in Ukraine to the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks. However, combined with revelations on NSA spying last autumn, the latest disclosure has triggered a fierce debate in Germany on the future of its relationship with the United States. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has weighed in on the scandal as “a clear contradiction as to what I regard as trusting cooperation between agencies and partners,” and other officials in the German government have suggested that the damage done to the German-American alliance is irreparable.

To discuss the impact of the recent revelations on the German-American partnership, with consideration from both the US and German perspectives, the Atlantic Council will host a members’ conference call with Annette Heuser, executive director of the Bertelsmann Foundation and Robert Kimmitt, senior international counsel for Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP. The event will be moderated by Atlantic Council President and CEO Fred Kempe.

Ms. Heuser founded the Washington, DC office of the Bertelsmann Foundation after serving as executive director of the Brussels office for six years. She has extensive experience in managing transatlantic projects, having served as director for Europe and the United States at the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany. Ambassador Kimmitt previously served as the US ambassador to Germany, and has held a wide variety of senior positions at the intersection of international business, finance, law, and policy, in both the government and private sector. This call will be on-the-record and time will be provided for questions and answers.

Members’ Conference Call Series

This conference call is part of a larger series of Atlantic Council members’ programming, which seeks to provide members the opportunity to dialogue directly with policy experts on the most relevant topics of the day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. ET Toll-free dial-in information is as follows:
1-800-311-9410 USA
0800917614 FRANCE
08001844180 GERMANY
800876557 ITALY
008001124603 POLAND
08007563333 UK
0800503181 UKRAINE
00800142077657 TURKEY

The passcode is 28369.