New Spying Row Hurts US Relationship With Germany

Fresh spying accusations are undermining US efforts to mend fences with Germany, only two weeks after both allies launched a diplomatic initiative to overcome the NSA surveillance row.

The White House on Wednesday stayed mum on the alleged espionage, as German lawmakers vented their anger during a visit to Washington and criticized perceived indifference on this issue in the United States. “We find that our interlocutors have very little awareness of the problem,” Norbert Roettgen, chairman of Germany’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told journalists after talks with members of Congress and national security officials.

Roettgen complained that his delegation did not receive “answers” about the recent spying scandal, warning that the US intelligence activity in Germany could lead to a “frozen conflict” in the transatlantic relationship.Meanwhile, Germany expelled the US intelligence station chief in Berlin Thursday over alleged spying by Washington, the government said in a highly unusual move among close NATO allies.

“The representative of the US intelligence services at the embassy of the United States of America has been told to leave Germany,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

Seibert said the demand was based on two formal probes by German federal prosecutors of suspected spying for Washington announced in the last week “as well as outstanding questions over the last several months about the activities of the US secret services in Germany”.“The government takes these developments very seriously,” he said.Seibert said it was “crucial for Germany, in the interest of the security of its citizens and its troops abroad, to work closely on a basis of trust with Western partners, in particular with the USA”.

Source — AFP

Top