Tuesday 16 January 2018

Germany expels CIA chief over US spying allegations

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama
Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama

Raf Sanchez

Germany has expelled the CIA's station chief in Berlin in a rebuke to Washington after its security services uncovered two cases of alleged US spying in a week.

The American intelligence official was asked to leave the country in a public signal of Angela Merkel's fury over the country's spying on Germany.

It is highly unusual for a European ally to expel a CIA station chief and the move is the most dramatic response from Germany since it was disclosed last year that the National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring Mrs Merkel's phone.

"The representative of the US intelligence services at the United States embassy has been asked to leave Germany," a German government spokesman said yesterday.

"The request occurred against the backdrop of the ongoing investigation by federal prosecutors as well as the questions that were posed months ago about the activities of US intelligence agencies in Germany." There was no immediate reaction from the CIA or the White House.

The move came the day after Berlin police searched the home and office of a German military intelligence official alleged to have been spying for the US. The man, said to be a foreign country specialist in the German defence ministry's political department, has not been charged.

German military intelligence was said to have alerted prosecutors after noticing that the suspect had "met suspiciously often with US contacts", according to 'SpiegelOnline'. A week earlier, a German intelligence operative was arrested after allegedly handing over secrets to the US in exchange for cash.

The 31-year-old employee of the BND, Germany's equivalent of MI6, is accused of selling 218 intelligence documents which he is alleged to have downloaded on to a USB stick and then given to his US spymasters for €31,495.

The two alleged cases of US espionage in Germany have added a new chill to the already strained relationship between Washington and Berlin on intelligence matters after documents leaked last year by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, revealed that the agency had been monitoring the German chancellor's mobile telephone. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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