A person employed by Germany’s international intelligence company (BND) has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the US. The espionage swoop is the newest of a sequence of embarrassing intelligence scandals straining ties between the 2 international locations.
A 31-year-old German man was been arrested Wednesday on suspicion of being a international spy, in keeping with a press release launched by the German Federal Prosecutors Office.
Two politicians with information of the affair instructed Reuters on Friday that the unnamed man has admitted passing on particulars to a US contact a few particular German parliamentary committee into National Security Agency (NSA) spying actions in Germany, which have been revealed by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
Snowden stated that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ eavesdropped on various European leaders’ telephone calls, together with these of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Both lawmakers are a part of the 9 member parliamentary management committee, which oversees the actions of the BND.
“The matter is serious, that is very clear,” a German authorities spokesman instructed the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The German tabloid Bild reported that the person had handed the Americans 218 secret paperwork in trade for € 25,000 ($34,100) and has been a double agent for them for two years. The man allegedly met his contact in Austria and handed on the key paperwork on a USB stick.
Der Spiegel journal reported that he had confessed to passing on particulars concerning the NSA inquiry to a US contact in return for cash.
There can be some uncertainty about what place he held within the BND. Earlier stories in Der Speigel that he labored within the mail room have now been discounted and Die Welt newspaper has alleged that in truth he was in shut contact with Gerhard Schindler, the pinnacle of the BND.
One of the politicians on the committee additionally appeared to down play the person’s significance inside the BND.
“This was a person who had no direct contact with the investigative committee. He was not a high agent,” one of many politicians instructed Reuters.
He added that the person had provided his companies to the US voluntarily.
But the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper alleged that the person had initially been suspected of spying for the Russians solely to confess that he was working for the Americans.
As the parliamentary enquiry is confidential, it isn’t clear precisely what info the person is suspected of passing on the US.
But the MPs concerned needed to ask Edward Snowden to Germany to testify, though this was blocked by Chancellor Merkel in case Washington demanded his extradition.
MPs additionally provided to go to Moscow the place Edward Snowden has political asylum, however the US fugitive refused to see them there.
However, two different whistleblowers and former NSA workers did testify. Thomas Drake claimed that the 2 companies cooperate so intently that the BND is an “appendage”to the NSA.
Germany is delicate to surveillance points due to abuses by the Nazis and by the East German Stasi. After Snowden’s revelations Berlin prompt a no-spy association between the US and its shut allies, however Washington refused.
German media have stated that if the case towards the person is confirmed “it will be the biggest scandal involving a German-American double agent since the war.”
Last week Germany introduced that it has ended a contract with Verizon, the US broadband and telecom firm, due to safety issues about its techniques, within the first instance of Snowden’s revelations having business repercussions.