News / Europe

US Says It Will Help Resolve German Spy Allegation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) chats with her delegates as she attends a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 7, 2014.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) chats with her delegates as she attends a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 7, 2014.
VOA News

The United States says it will work with Germany to resolve concerns over whether one of its intelligence employees was a double agent spying for Washington, but is declining to say whether the allegation is true.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the U.S. relationship with Berlin is broad and important, but that he could not talk about intelligence matters.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a visit to Beijing, said the spy allegation is "serious," and if true would violate the trust between Germany and the United States.

"About the reports that a German intelligence employee spied for the United States, if the reports are proven true it would be a serious case," she said. "The German federal prosecutor is investigating on this case. If the allegations are true, it would be for me a clear contradiction as to what I consider to be trusting cooperation between agencies and partners."

The comments marked the chancellor's first public remarks on the arrest last week of the 31-year-old man suspected of being a double agent. When questioned, authorities say he told them he had been working for the United States for two years.

German authorities have described the suspect as a low-level employee of Berlin's foreign-intelligence agency. He was detained after allegedly being pinpointed as the author of an email offering to sell secret documents to Russia.

He is believed to have copied more than 200 German intelligence documents and sold them to the United States for $34,000.

The case risks further straining ties between the two allies, following the revelations last year of wide-spread spying on Germany by the U.S. National Security Agency, including monitoring of Merkel's cell phone.

Industrial espionage

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

As Merkel visited China, where she oversaw the signing of agreements involving Airbus Group NV's helicopter division selling 100 aircraft to Chinese companies, a German intelligence chief warned that some firms in China faced a growing threat from industrial espionage by Chinese government agencies with huge resources.

"Germany is against that - regardless of where it comes from," Merkel said, in reference to industrial espionage.

"We have a duty as the state to protect our economy. ... We are for the protection of intellectual property," she said.

China's premier repeated his government's denial that it was involved in such activities.

"China and Germany, it can be said, are both victims of hacking attacks. The Chinese government resolutely opposes hacking attacks as well as the use of the internet to steal commercial secrets or intellectual property," Li said.

"China will engage in dialogue and consultation to protect the security of the Internet," he added

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Alexander M Swan from: USA
July 07, 2014 9:07 AM
The USA should avoid spying on its partner countries like Germany, EU, Canada, etc because it is a unethical act on trust.
In Response

by: Founding Father #5
July 08, 2014 4:15 AM

"Germany started 2 world wars."

Germany started WW2. WW1 was started by a Serbian terrorist (Gavrilo Princip) and Austria. I recommend learning some very basics of history before you bring up historical arguments.

Then - since the end end of WW2, 69 years ago, by the way, USA who have started 13 wars, Germany zero. Two of America's wars were justified with manifest lies (Tonkin incident in 1966, "Weapons of mass destruction" in 2003). If someone would use this as an excuse to spy on USA, would you accept this excuse?

"Also that is a double agent...means it's a half German spy..... dah?"

No dah at all. He was no double agent but a subordinate office clerk at BND in Munich organizing documentation. Germany has a government ruling not to spy on what they consider friends (may be naive to consider Americans "friends"). They may change this now.

By the way, this man is very lucky that Germany has no Espionage Act and has the chance for a fair trial. A chance that Edward Snowden would not have.
In Response

by: Yeru
July 07, 2014 10:33 AM
The EU, of which Germany is a member, is not a country. The more covert the activity, the higher the probability of quality data, and the higher the probability that it is was illegally obtained. Even US allies have agendas that conflict with American interests from time to time and vice versa. How do you propose to address this if not through espionage?
In Response

by: andyoo from: us
July 07, 2014 10:20 AM
what do you expect? Germany started 2 world wars. U.S. is not going to not spy on them just in case they start the next one again. come back again when Germany has no spy in U.S. Also that is a double agent...means it's a half German spy..... dah?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs