Germany announced Thursday that it had ordered the senior American intelligence official in the country expelled, retaliating for apparent American recruitment of spies here.
“The representative of the U.S. intelligence services at the United States Embassy has been asked to leave Germany,” a government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement.
“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 U.S. intelligence agencies in Germany,” he said. “The government takes the matter very seriously.”
Mr. Seibert said Germany continued to seek “close and trusting” cooperation with its Western partners, “especially the United States.”
Clemens Binninger, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, said the move was “a political reaction of the government to the lack of willingness of U.S. authorities to help clear up any questions arising in the past year” in connection with American surveillance of Germany and its leaders.
German officials have been frustrated in their efforts to receive clarification from Washington over allegations of spying that began last year when it was revealed that the National Security Agency had been monitoring the
chancellor’s cellphone. Although President Obama has offered assurances that it will no longer happen, revelations last week that a member of the German secret services had been spying for the United States sparked a fresh round of outrage.
On Wednesday, the police searched the Berlin office and apartment of a man suspected of being a spy, federal prosecutors said. They declined to give further information, but the German news media reported that the suspect worked for the Defense Ministry. A ministry spokesman confirmed that it was involved in an investigation.
* NYT, 11 July 2014, Alison Smale reported from Berlin, and Melissa Eddy from Paris. (Text)