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Licence to Drink: Germany Paying for Foreign Spies' Steins at Oktoberfest

© Flickr / xsnowdogOktoberfest celebrations
Oktoberfest celebrations - Sputnik International
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It's a scene made famous by Hollywood - an international spy sitting at a bar as part of an undercover operation. However it seems such a scene might not be restricted to the movies, after it was revealed that the German government has been paying spies to party at Munich's world famous Oktoberfest.

According to a report by the German Taxpayers' Association, the country's foreign intelligence service, the BND, has been inviting undercover foreign agents to Munich for the city's annual Oktoberfest celebrations.

Even better, the report states that the BND has been footing the bill for its covert guests, paying for up to USD$56 (€50) per person for the agents' beer-swilling, chicken-eating Bavarian experience.

© Flickr / KurtOktoberfest celebrations in Munich, Germany.
Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, Germany. - Sputnik International
Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, Germany.

In some instances, it noted that the BND even paid for the accommodation of some of its guests.

While it is unsure how many spies have been invited to Oktberfest festivities over the years, the report has sparked outrage among some in Germany, who are angry at what they believe to be the government's frivolous spending of taxpayers' money.

The Taxpayers' Association took aim at a number of costly ventures, including the development of a $500,000 smartphone app that allows people to search for the graves of famous people.

Demonstrators hold a banner during a protest against the supposed surveillance by the US National Security Agency, NSA, and the German intelligence agency, BND, during a rally in front of the construction site of the new headquarters of German intelligence agency in Berlin, Germany, Monday July 29, 2013. - Sputnik International
German Spies Building Empire to Match NSA Amid Criticism
Oktoberfest celebrations generally bring in about 7 million visitors — including a handful of merry spies — to various German cities, with the largest event held in Munich every year during late September and early October.

So, next time you're dancing and drinking steins at Oktoberfest, or even sitting in your local bar enjoying a quite one, look around at who's in your company and who's paying the bill, you never know who you might be talking to. 

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