WikiLeaks indiscretion gets German space boss fired

The head of a leading German space company has lost his job, after ill-advised comments he allegedly made to US diplomats about the Galileo sat-nav project were made public by WikiLeaks.

The WikiLeaks cablegate saga has claimed its first victim, with the chief executive of a leading German space company losing his job over remarks he made to US diplomats, the BBC reports.

Berry Smutny is alleged to have told the officals that Galileo -- a major EU space programme, was a "stupid idea". Galileo is essentially a sat-nav project that works alongside GPS, providing accurate location data. The project is long overdue, however, and is well over budget.

In a 2009 meeting with eminent emissaries in Berlin, Smutny apparently said Galileo was a waste of taxpayer money, and "primarily serves French interests". He also reportedly commented that Galileo was "doomed for failure" and would "have to undergo drastic scalebacks for survival".

Understandably, OHB-System -- the company Smutny headed up -- wasn't too happy, and in a statement said its supervisory board had "passed a unanimous resolution to revoke Mr Smutny's appointment".

Smutny admits he met the US officials, but denies making the imprudent remarks.

In other WikiLeaks news, the Guardian reports that a Swiss banker has handed over financial details of 2,000 "high net-worth individuals" he says are involved in tax evasion. Their names will not be revealed; rather the intention of the leak is to expose exactly how these people are getting out of paying their taxes.

What do you think about the WikiLeaks saga? Is it good that so much previously secret information is being pumped into the public domain? Or might it be harmful in the long-term? Sound off in the comments section, or on our Facebook wall.

About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.


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