German government has expelled the top US intelligence official in Berlin, amid undercover agent investigation.
“The representative of the US intelligence services at the embassy of the United States of America has been told to leave Germany,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement on Thursday.
According to Seibert the move was in response to two reported cases of suspected US spying in Germany and the ongoing argument over reported NSA spying in the country.
“The government takes these developments very seriously,” he added.
The German federal prosecutors’ office said on Wednesday that police officers raided properties in the Berlin area on “initial suspicion of activity for an intelligence agency.”
According to the German newspaper Die Welt, the man being investigated was a soldier in the German army who had aroused the suspicion of the country’s military counter-intelligence agency because of his close contacts to alleged US spies.
On June 4, an employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, was arrested on alleged charges of spying for the US over a period of years.
According to Germany’s Bild newspaper, the arrested BND employee is believed to have passed over 218 scanned documents since 2012 after saving them on a USB memory stick.
The latest espionage cases come as a German parliamentary inquiry is currently being held to assess the extent of spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its partners on Germans, and whether German intelligence aided the activities.
The German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said “It would be most disturbing if the spying merrily continued while we’re looking at the NSA wiretapping activities and have set up a committee in parliament.”
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