just taken into consideration that some of the 'proof' is chatter by ex-intelligence officers who are looking for their moment of fame (and are not activists) and so where some caution should be in order (some people seem to mix hearsay with personal opinions and to forget to check hard facts) but the investigation has taken two years by several journalists (and probably backup researchers) and is the basis of a book and a long documentary that will be aired next week
it shows why in Europe we need a real Freedom of Information Act, a real framework for real Congressional hearings and to review the secrecy (and the length of 100 years in Belgium for example) so that we don't have to wait for generations (and some books) before public democratic discussions about our history and our present policies can start and we can learn things (or hope that some-one will learn something out of it)
it also shows why we need an European Intelligence Community so it is not possible anymore that the American Intelligence Community can not pressure one European country after another into near submission without any normal legal democratic framework
one should also keep in mind that since 9-11 the NSA-CIA believes that there are still many terrorist cells in Germany that will have to be followed or neutralized before they strike in Europe or the US (or elsewhere). Read the book 'The Cell' if you don't understand this obsession with sleeping terrorist cells in Germany (and you can be assured that the German intelligence services think the same thing and that German politicians don't want another 9-11 to be planned and prepared on their soil because it would shame also them)
one should also keep in mind that Germany was during the cold war the spycenter of the world and Echelon (the big NSA partner network) had also installations in Germany listening in on the Russians and the other SovietBloc countries. It was also the battleground for spies during that time in which all kinds of secret operations were conducted by both sides of the Cold War. One shouldn't be surprised that with the new obsession about terorist sleeping cells that those agreements, cooperation methods and installations were quickly re-activated and adapted to confront this (imaginery ?) new threat.
what does the article say
* that the US is flying 50 drones above Germany without any approval but that is only for 'training'. The question is why you would train in a country where your 'foreign' drones have (as could be asked) no legal approval to fly. The only reason you could train your drones in Europe or Germany is for operations in forests and between mountains or in urbanized area's without having the legal procedures (and political backslash) that they would have in the US (which shows why we need a democratic legal framework for drones in Europe)
the' reason may also be practical as it seems that Frankfurt plays at least a major role in the decision when to execute an assassination-by-drone worldwide
* that the CIA center in Frankfurt was (re)used as coordination center for the secret abductions of suspected terrorists for 'hard' investigations (torture) around the world (the black flights). This shouldn't come as a real surprise as the same infrastructure is probably used for the coordination of other military US-NATO operations around the world.
* that CIA operatives and 270 of the private firms working for the industrial-intelligence-complex are conducting all kinds of secret operations (like arrests (probably before the passengers arrive at the frontier) on German soil
and more will probably be coming our way