U.S. German relations could face some new pressure with the news yesterday of the arrest of an employee of the BND, that’s Germany’s foreign intelligence agency that’s headquartered behind me here for apparently selling some German intelligence to the Americans.
Now there’s no conclusive ties to the U.S. that have been released publicly just yet, however apparently Chancellor Angela Merkel was briefed on the matter earlier in the week and her spokesperson made this statement.
Steffen Seibert, German Government Spokesperson, “This is a very serious incident. That is why the Federal State Prosecutor has become active. Espionage activity for foreign intelligence services is not something that we’re treating lightly.”
If these allegations indeed prove true and the U.S. is implicated, this could add some fuel to the fire here. The German public was very upset about the reevaluations previously that the U.S. had been tapping Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone. As far as what we know about the employee, we know he’s 31 years old; his motivation appears to be financial. That’s what some media outlets are reporting that he sold the information for quite a large sum of money and perhaps also offered it to some other countries.
Of course, we don’t that much yet, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about this story in the coming days and weeks. CCTV’s Ira Spitzer reports from Berlin.