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How Germany bumbled its half-billion dollar drone program

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Thomas de Maiziére
Thomas de Maiziére

Drones and drama seem to go hand in hand. Worldwide, drones are sparking privacy and combat concerns, while regulators scramble to catch up. In Germany, drones are at the center of a controversy that could cost the Defense Minister and the Chancellor, Angela Merkel, their jobs. Thomas de Maizière who runs Germany's Ministry of Defense, is facing widespread scrutiny for killing off the nation's drone program. Der Spiegel magazine takes an in-depth look at how Germany bumbled its drone efforts, and how the ensuing scandal could reverberate through the nation's political system. Germany invested more than half-a-billion dollars in its drone program before De Maizière decided to scrap the initiative and start over, Der Spiegel magazine reported, noting that the agency has know for about 15 months that there were problems. De Maizière, Der Spiegel says, is sinking politically in the crisis, and the political backlash could cost Chancellor Merkel her re-election campaign as the two have a long history of working together.