Title: SID Around the World: The Rhineland

Release Date: 2014-06-18

Document Date: 2003-09-27

Description: This internal NSA post from 16 September 2003 describes one agency staffer’s experience of working at the NSA’s German stations: see the Der Spiegel article Spying Together: Germany’s Deep Cooperation with the NSA, 18 June 2014.

Document: {U//FOUO)SIDArnunhthe World: The Rheinland



Run Date: 09/16/2003

(S//SI) Having served on one field tour at NCEUR,
Stuttgart, Germany, in the mid-1990s, I was once again
fortunate to get an offer for another field assignment in

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Germany just two years later, at NSA's European
Technical Center (ETC) in Wiesbaden, The position at ETC
was as a Foreign Relations Staff Officer, responsible for
coordinating technical support to NSA's Third Party
partners in Europe and the Middle East, My wife served
as NSA's liaison to the Army's 66th Military Intelligence
Group in Darmstadt, We lived between Wiesbaden and
Darmstadt, due south of Frankfurt, and our school-age
children went to the DoDDs school in Darmstadt,

(S//SI) For a career Intelligence and Language Analyst,
the most interesting and rewarding aspects of working at
ETC were exposure to the engineering work that NSA
does and to the superb group of people who carry it out,

It was a pleasure, indeed, even an inspiration, to deal with
the technical personnel who put SIGINT and related
systems in place, to witness their expertise, and to gain
greater awareness of technical support, maintenance, and
logistics problems. The engineering and logistics friends I
made in Wiesbaden are ones I would likely not have met
in my regular career field back home, and I learned a lot
from them. Supporting NSA's foreign partnerships and
sometimes dealing directly with foreign partners was a
particularly interesting experience as well.

(U) Outside of work, the most rewarding aspect of living
in the Rheinland area of Germany is the opportunity to
travel across Germany and much of Europe, France, the
Benelux countries, and Switzerland are all within a few
hours' drive, for a weekend or, for border destinations
such as Strasbourg, even a day trip. For longer drives,
Paris and Berlin are within six hours drive, the Alps are
3-7 hours away, depending on which mountain is being
sought, and other destinations - in southern France, the
Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and
Italy - are within reasonable long-distance reach for an
extended vacation. Living near Frankfurt also puts one
very close to rail and air connections to anywhere in
Europe, including low-cost air travel to many European
destinations. It was a thrill to be able to visit sites of
historical and cultural significance during our tour, and
living in Germany has marked our children with a
considerable appreciation for European history and

(U) The middle Rhein area between Mainz/Wiesbaden and
Koblenz is quite scenic and offers many opportunities to
sample aspects of German life, especially gastronomic
pleasures, closer to home. You don't have to go far to find
a really good white wine, for some very good Rieslings
may well be just down the street, Wiesbaden is located

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within the Rheingau wine area; the Rheinhessen is just
across the Rhein, and the Rheinpfaltz (Rheinland
Palatinate) and Mosel-Saar-Ruwer regions, as well as the
French province of Alsace, are close by. Even
lesser-known wine regions, like Franconia, are within

(U) As for cuisine, eating in Germany can be a real
pleasure for all but the most conservative tastes, I have
not had a bad German meal yet. Local specialties abound;
in the Rhein/Main plain closer to Darmstadt, the Germans
grow the sweet, white asparagus ("Sparger) that is
harvested in May and enjoyed throughout Germany, The
strawberry season follows immediately thereafter,

(U//FOUO) It might belabor the obvious that I enjoyed
living in Germany to no end. Working and living in the
field is a great experience, and working at ETC and living
in Germany was no exception. I'd do it again.

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