German spy investigation: CIA Station Chief asked to leave Berlin

World Today

The stars and stripes fly on top of the U.S. Embassy next to the German parliament in Berlin on Oct. 25, 2013.

Germany has ordered the expulsion of the top U.S. intelligence official from the country Thursday, saying Washington has refused to cooperate with inquiries into United States intelligence activities. CCTV’s Ira Spitzer reports from Berlin.

German spy investigation: U.S. CIA Station Chief asked to leave Berlin

German spy investigation: U.S. CIA Station Chief asked to leave Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government ordered the expulsion of the top U.S. intelligence official from the country Thursday, saying Washington has refused to cooperate with German inquiries into United States intelligence activities. CCTV's Ira Spitzer reports from Berlin.

The past week felt like a spy movie in Germany: Double agents, an outraged public and angry statements from government officials. Now in the latest twist, Germany threw out an American intelligence chief.

“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. The expelled American official was not named.

“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,” Mr. Seibert said. “The government takes the matter very seriously.”

While the embassy had no comment on the expulsion request, officials said it was essential to maintain close cooperation with the German government “in all areas,” according to a statement.

Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the development, but said Secretary of State John Kerry would be talking soon with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

“Our relationship with Germany is extremely important,” she said. “We’ll continue our dialogue through senior officials in the days and weeks ahead.”

This espionage incident threatens to damage the relationship between the two countries even further.

The move came in response to two apparent spying incidents that came to light over the past week, straining relations between the allies. While the German interior minister called the value of the obtained information laughable, the political fallout is serious.

A shift in the relationship could have major consequences. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany and the United States had “very different approaches” with regard to the role of spy agencies.