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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/6/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Latest incident to compound German-U.S. relations after NSA allegations

It's accepted that Germany, the top economy in Europe, is a staunch ally of the United States and vice-versa. That decades-long partnership is now under serious strain. First, there were reports that the National Security Agency had wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone. Now, a German man has been arrested on suspicion of spying on behalf of the United States. Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, called the case "a serious matter," declining to elaborate.

A newspaper report says that the man in custody is suspected of informing U.S. agents about an inquiry by German lawmakers into the National Security Agency.

A newspaper report says that the man in custody is suspected of informing U.S. agents about an inquiry by German lawmakers into the National Security Agency.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/6/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Germany, spy, allegations, Angela Merkel, NSA


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Federal prosecutors say that a 31-year-old German was arrested on July 2 on suspicion of spying for an unidentified foreign power.

A newspaper report says that the man in custody is suspected of informing U.S. agents about an inquiry by German lawmakers into the National Security Agency.

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U.S. Ambassador John Emerson was called in to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin today to help with "an investigation" by federal prosecutors.

"I expect this issue to be thoroughly clarified," Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary caucus leader of the Social Democrats, told reporters. If allegations that the U.S. sought information on the probe prove true, "this would be an unheard-of attack on the freedom of our parliament."

Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone to discuss the conflict in Ukraine and call for a cease-fire. Seibert said the German parliament's intelligence oversight committee has been informed of the allegations.

"This is a serious matter, that's obvious," Seibert said.

The man, reportedly a support technician for Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency, met U.S. agents at least three times in Austria between 2012 and 2014 and gave them hundreds of secret documents for which he was paid $34,000, according to the Bild newspaper. The documents were seized on a thumb drive containing 218 stolen files and a laptop at the suspect's home, Bild said.

The man was approached several times by U.S. intelligence and at least once passed along information on the NSA committee. The suspect was initially suspected of making contact with Russian spies and told investigators about involvement with American agents, according to the report.

Deputy Foreign Minister Stephan Steinlein "asked the U.S. ambassador to cooperate with a swift clarification" of the charges, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement.

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