Tuesday

25th Apr 2017

US 'willing to talk' to Germany in latest spy dispute

  • The Snowden revelations already annoyed Merkel last year (Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler)

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will hold talks with his US counterpart, John Kerry, on the new spy dispute in the coming days, the US State Department has said.

Germany on Thursday (10 July) told a senior representative of the US intelligence service, the CIA, to leave the country - a move one step short of a full expulsion.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The decision comes after two German officials - one from the German intelligence service BND and one in the defence ministry - were put under investigation for spying and selling secrets to the US intelligence services.

The CIA official invited to leave Germany is reportedly the key contact of the two double agents.

"We have so many problems, we should focus on the essentials. Spying on allies is such a waste of energy," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told press the same day in Berlin.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, confirmed the German government's decision in an official statement: "The government takes these activities very seriously. It is essential and in the interest of the security of its citizens and its forces abroad for Germany to collaborate closely and trustfully with its western partners, especially the US."

He added: “But mutual trust and openness is necessary. The government is still prepared to do so and expects the same of its closest partners”.

The CIA official’s eviction is the first retaliatory step from the German authorities in an ongoing affair which began last year with revelations by US whistleblower Edward Snowden that Merkel's phone was tapped and that the personal communications of millions of Germans are subject to surveillance by the US’ National Security Agency.

Clemens Binninger, a member of Merkel's party who chairs an intelligence oversight committee, said the action came in response to America's "failure to co-operate on resolving various allegations, starting with the NSA and up to the latest incidents".

There are few precedents for such measures among fellow Nato countries, but France in 1995 also sent home several US officials for spying.

The White House declined to comment.

"Any sort of comment on any reported intelligence acts would put at risk US assets, US personnel and the United States national security," its press secretary, Josh Earnest, noted.

"We do continue to be in touch with the Germans at a variety of levels, including through law enforcement, diplomatic and even intelligence channels," he added.

But a top Republican on the Senate’s intelligence committee, Saxby Chambliss, said the CIA is "concerned” about the German move.

"It's unusual for our station chief to be sent home by the host country”, he noted, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Merkel and Obama bury hatchet on US spying

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama on Friday are poised to mend ties after the exposure of her phone being tapped and millions of Germans spied upon by the NSA.

Russia suspected of Macron hack

Likely Russian spies tried to steal email passwords from Macron's people the same way they hacked US elections, new study says.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Investigation

Sex and lies: Russia's EU news

France and Germany have been targeted for years with fake news and lies designed to incite sexual revulsion toward migrants and the politicians who gave them shelter.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  2. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan
  3. Ivanka Trump to meet Merkel at Berlin women's conference
  4. Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in 20 years
  5. Nord Stream 2 to get €4.8bn from European energy firms
  6. Defeated Fillon retires from French politics
  7. Hollande: Vote Macron to avoid 'risk' for France
  8. Italy misses deadline on air quality warning

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children