Germany kicks out top US spy
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a joint news conference with the Prime Minster of Moldova Iurie Leanca, as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
FILE - in this Oct. 25, 2013 file photo the American flag flies on top of the U.S. embassy in front of the Reichstag building that houses the German Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany. Germany took the dramatic step Thursday of asking the top U.S. intelligence official in Berlin to leave the country, following two reported cases of suspected U.S. spying and the yearlong spat over eavesdropping by the National Security Agency. "The representative of the U.S. intelligence services at the United States embassy has been asked to leave Germany," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement, Thursday, July 10,2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
AC Milan vice president Barbara Berlusconi is surrounded by supporters during the presentation of the upcoming 2014-15 season at the AC Milan headquarter in Milan, Italy, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
BERLIN — Germany on Thursday demanded Washington’s top spy in Berlin leave the country as a new round of allegations of U.S. espionage worsened the friction between the two allies.
The immediate trigger was the emergence of two new cases of alleged American spying. They inflamed a furor that erupted last year when it was learned that the U.S. was intercepting Internet traffic in Germany and eavesdropping on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone calls.
More broadly, the move to kick out the CIA station chief appears to reflect a Germany out of patience with what it sees as a pattern of American disrespect and interference.
“The representative of the U.S. intelligence services at the United States Embassy has been asked to leave Germany,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
“The request occurred against the backdrop of the ongoing investigation by federal prosecutors as well as the questions that were posed months ago about the activities of U.S. intelligence agencies in Germany,” he added. “The government takes the matter very seriously.”
U.S. officials described Germany’s action as extraordinary.
While agents have been expelled from time to time, usually by unfriendly powers, a former U.S. official said he couldn’t remember an instance since the end of the Cold War in which the ranking intelligence official was asked to leave a country.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss intelligence issues publicly.
Germany refused to identify the CIA station chief by name. In the United States, it is illegal to disclose the name of an undercover operative.
Shortly before Thursday’s announcement, Merkel told reporters that Germany and the United States had “very different approaches” to the role of intelligence agencies, and she insisted that any spying on allies is “a waste of energy.”