Finally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been pushed into action. Following the exposure of not one but two people spying on Germany for the U.S. (one a German intelligence double agent, the other a German army officer), her government has expelled the CIA contact in Berlin.
In a statement on Thursday, Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said the “representative of the U.S. intelligence services” at the American embassy had been asked to leave, in the light of ongoing investigations into the exposed spies, and into the “activities of U.S. intelligence agencies in Germany” exposed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
The latter activities are being investigated by a committee in the Bundestag, the German parliament. It was reported that the double-agent — the first spy to be arrested — had sold the CIA details of the committee’s activities. U.S. sources told Reuters that it was true that the CIA had used the German intelligence official.
Seibert said it was essential for Germany to work “closely and trustingly” with western partners, the U.S. in particular, but “mutual trust and openness” were necessary for this to happen.
According to Business Insider, the U.S. isn’t commenting on this “intelligence matter” but it does want to maintain its security and intelligence relationship with Germany.
Germany’s signals intelligence agency, the BND, works closely with its U.S. counterpart, the NSA, Snowden’s leaks showed. However, the leaks also showed that the U.S. bugged Merkel’s phone, an action that initiated a formal investigation in Germany a month ago.
Investigators are also looking into revelations of the NSA spying on the German public, but lack of evidence means there’s no formal investigation on that front just yet.