The top U.S. intelligence official at the Berlin embassy in Germany has been asked to leave the country. The request comes in the wake of two uncovered instances of U.S. spying in Germany in less than a week.
The request is an exceptional measure for Germany to take against the United States, one of their closest allies, and reveals the magnitude of the deterioration of relations between the two countries. U.S.-German relations have diminished during the past year after U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed that global U.S. spying included NSA surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
On Wednesday, a suspected U.S. spy was discovered in the German defense ministry. Only days before, a German intelligence official was arrested on allegation of being a CIA informant and admitted handing documents to the United States.
Merkel delivered a powerful condemnation of global U.S. spying activities. “From my point of view, spying on allies … is a waste of energy. We have so many problems, we should focus on the important things,” the chancellor told reporters. “In the Cold War maybe there was general mistrust. Today we are living in the 21st century. Today there are completely new threats,” she said.
German public outcry over the U.S. spying in Germany has placed pressure on Merkel to act. Germany is a country that places high value on personal privacy, after having dealt with pervasive surveillance in the past with the Nazi Gestapo and Communist Stasi.
Source: Germany asks top U.S. intelligence official to leave over spy scandal — Reuters