News / Europe

    Germany Seeks Quick US Reply on Suspected Spy Case

    FILE - The U.S.  flag flies  on top of the U.S. embassy in front  of the  Reichstag building  that houses the German  Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany.
    FILE - The U.S. flag flies on top of the U.S. embassy in front of the Reichstag building that houses the German Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany.
    VOA News

    The German government wants a quick and clear explanation from Washington for U.S. intelligence's apparent contact with a German man arrested last week on suspicion of being a double agent, the Interior Minister said in a newspaper interview.

    "I expect everyone to cooperate promptly to clear up these allegations - with quick and clear comments from the United States as well," Thomas de Maiziere told Bild am Sonntag newspaper, according to excerpts of its Monday edition.

    The White House and State Department have so far declined to comment on the arrest of a 31-year-old employee of Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency, who admits passing documents to a U.S. contact, according to intelligence and political sources.

    Local media reported on Sunday that the man had been working for the CIA for around two years, the French news agency AFP reported.

    NSA surveillance

    The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and Bild am Sonntag said the suspect had passed on two documents about a parliamentary panel established earlier this year to investigate NSA surveillance after revelations by fugitive former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, AFP reported.

    The allegations have raised fresh tensions between the two allies.

    "If reports are correct, we are not talking here about small potatoes," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a tweet, following reports of U.S. spying that have sparked anger in Germany after revelations the NSA allegedly tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

    A parliamentary committee is looking into those allegations, revealed by  Snowden.

    German ties with Washington have been sorely tested by revelations last year of large-scale snooping on Germany by the U.S. National Security Agency.

    Surveillance is a sensitive issue in a country where the memory of the Nazi's Gestapo secret police and communist East Germany's Stasi means the right to privacy is treasured.

    'That is enough'

    Head of state Joachim Gauck, a former Protestant pastor and rights campaigner in the old German Democratic Republic, told German TV the NSA affair was "a vexing episode."

    "If it really is the case that a service has been using an employee from our service in this way, we have to say: 'That is enough,' " the president said in a television interview to be broadcast later on Sunday.

    De Maiziere, one of the cabinet ministers closest to Merkel, called it a "very serious case" which must be investigated fully to "gauge the scale of the alleged spying and especially answer the question of who was involved."

    The U.S. ambassador was called in on Friday to hear Berlin's  request for an explanation and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday it was in Washington's own interests to help with the "quickest possible clarification of the facts."

    It is not clear whether Merkel discussed it with President Barack Obama in their phone call on Thursday but her spokesman Steffen Seibert said: "We don't take the matter of spying for foreign intelligence agencies lightly."

    One lawmaker on the committee investigating the NSA affair said the man arrested had no direct contact with the committee, whose meetings are confidential, and was "not a top agent.”

    The suspect had offered his services to the United States voluntarily, intelligence and political sources said, and had been paid about 25,000 euros ($34,100) for passing on 218 BND documents to his unidentified American contact.

    No-spy agreement attempted

    After the Snowden revelations, Berlin demanded Washington agree to a "no-spy agreement" but the United States has been unwilling to make such a commitment. German officials also emphasize that they rely on intelligence from U.S. agencies.

    The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council have declined to comment.

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a book presentation in Berlin it's “a serious issue.”

    “Let's find out what the facts are and then let's act appropriately, but also try to be careful not to undermine the necessary cooperation which exists between us,” she said.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.