America’s top spy in Berlin has been asked to leave the country following a growing alleged espionage scandal in the German capital.
“The Federal Government has asked the representative of the U.S. intelligence services at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin to leave Germany,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Late last week German officials arrested a 31-year-old employee of one of their intelligence agencies for allegedly passing along classified documents to American agents. Then earlier this week, in a case German media described as “more serious,” German authorities reportedly searched the residence of another suspected double agent who reports said worked in the German Defense Ministry.
Both the CIA and the White House declined to comment directly on either spy allegation or on the news that the CIA’s man in Berlin has been shown the door.
“We have seen these reports and have no comment on a purported intelligence matter,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said today. “However, our security and intelligence relationship with Germany is a very important one and it keeps Germans and Americans safe. It is essential that cooperation continue in all areas and we will continue to be in touch with the German government in appropriate channels.”
The most recent allegation come at an already tense time in German-American relations when it comes to espionage. Months before, German Chancellor Angela Merkel learned that the U.S. had been tapping her personal communications, reportedly along with those of at least 34 other world leaders.
Former top American intelligence officials told ABC News Wednesday that it’s not surprising that the U.S. agents spy on its allies, but only that they were caught.
“All nations do this, but if you do it, you want to be successful at it. You want to be good at it,” said former CIA and NSA head Michael Hayden. “To do it and be caught is the worst of all possible worlds… If any of this is true, we have embarrassed someone who is unarguably a good friend. That’s our fault. We should not put good friends in those kinds of circumstances.”