Very interesting - as well as disturbing! This article (German) points us to project Onyx, an electronic eavesdropping scheme comparable to Echelon, but operated by the Swiss Department of Defence (and Sport!). There's a couple of problems with this: 1) Cost control has gone completely haywire, 2) control procedures are inadequate, and 3) observance of civil rights is virtually impossible to enforce.

Common sense might add another issue: If even the biggest boys' toys do not work properly, why should we bother to spend hundreds of millions on toys which are by necessity less effective? If you are in the business of having substantial strategic operations abroad, it makes sense to collect appropriate intelligence. If you are not (as we are), it does not. Period.

Here is last year's report (German) by the Audit Committee of Parliament.

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