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Berlin tells CIA station chief to leave in spy scandal

'Third Strike' Gets Top US Spy Booted From Germany

BERLIN, July 10 (Reuters) - Germany told the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country on Thursday in a dramatic display of anger from Chancellor Angela Merkel at the behavior of a close ally after officials unearthed two suspected U.S. spies.

The scandal has chilled relations with Washington to levels not seen since Merkel's predecessor opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. It follows allegations that Merkel herself, who grew up in Stasi-ridden East Germany, was among thousands of Germans whose mobile phones have been bugged by American agents.

"Spying on allies ... is a waste of energy," the chancellor said in her most pointed public remarks yet on the issue. "We have so many problems, we should focus on the important things."

Senior conservative supporters denounced U.S. "stupidity" and some Americans said spying on their friends had backfired.

"In the Cold War maybe there was general mistrust. Today we are living in the 21st century. Today there are completely new threats," Merkel said in Berlin, once a key CIA listening post behind the Iron Curtain during the superpower duel with Moscow and now the reunited capital of Europe's most powerful economy.

Her spokesman said the request for the top U.S. intelligence official in the Berlin embassy to leave was made in response to questions raised in recent months on U.S. intelligence activity in Germany and prosecutors' investigations.

A U.S. government source said the official - whom neither side named - was Berlin station chief for the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency. A German source said the man would face possible forcible expulsion if he did not leave voluntarily.

Washington's embassy and Merkel's office sit a few hundred meters apart. They lie east and west of what was the Berlin Wall, for the removal of which many Germans still give great credit to their U.S. ally - deepening today's sense of betrayal.


On Wednesday, Berlin said it had discovered a suspected U.S. spy in the Defense Ministry. That came just days after a German foreign intelligence worker was arrested on suspicion of being a CIA informant and admitted passing documents to a U.S. contact.

The scale of public outrage at these revelations has put pressure on Merkel to take action against the United States, an ally whose defense of West Germany in the Cold War long assured Americans a warmer welcome there than elsewhere in Europe.

However, there is a limit to what she can do and both sides stressed the need to continue to work closely together. They have done increasingly in recent years, on issues from Iran to Ukraine, as Germany shakes off its postwar reticence in foreign affairs and takes on a role more suited to its economic weight.


TRADE DEAL

Experts said that talks on a free trade deal between the European Union and United States, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), may be affected; Berlin may push harder on some aspects of the deal in areas such as data protection - long a major concern for Germans after the abuses of the Nazi Gestapo and East German Stasi secret police.

"But the idea that Merkel would somehow try to torpedo TTIP is not really likely," said Germany expert Hans Kundnani at European Council on Foreign Relations in London.

John Kornblum, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany who still lives in Berlin, said: "I believe the Germans are telling the Americans, 'We want to continue close cooperation but you've pushed us too far and have forced us to react'."

Merkel's government poured scorn on the alleged espionage.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the information the United States appeared to have obtained was "laughable", contrasting that with the "disproportionate and serious political damage" the scandal had caused.

Merkel was "not amused", Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said, adding: "This is so stupid, it can only make you weep."

Tensions have risen since revelations last year stemming from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Those caused Berlin to demand a mutual "no-spy deal" which Washington has resisted.

"Ever since the NSA disclosures broke last year, the issue of U.S. spying has been an extremely sensitive issue in Germany," said Karen Donfried, president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which promotes U.S.-European ties.

Some Americans asked whether the espionage activities were worth the bother: "I am not troubled that the United States conducts espionage, even against friendly states," said one former senior U.S. intelligence official.

"I am troubled when we attempt espionage and do not do it well. We learn nothing and we embarrass a friend and ourselves." (Additional reporting by Stephen Brown, Michelle Martin, Alexandra Hudson, Annika Breidthardt and Andreas Rinke in Berlin and Mark Hosenball and Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Stephen Brown and Alastair Macdonald)

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
obama.is.not.a.smidgen.honest July 11 2014 at 7:47 AM

Barack Hussein Obama
is a lying snake of a man.
America has a President
who can not be trusted.
Everything in
Obama's twisted world is political.
The man's only agenda is himself.
Everything Obama does is based
on how that action will benefit him.
Barack Hussein Obama
is the biggest mistake
in American Presidential history.
Obama hugs America's enemies
and spits on America's friends.
Obama is killing America.

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5 replies
fred July 10 2014 at 9:48 PM

How can you NOT love the incompetence of Obozo, the Pantsuit Pinocchio, Embellisher Holder, Honest Lerner, Integrity Rice, the VA hospital......the list goes on and on and the backers of the Pied Piper STILL think he walks on water......go figure.

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1 reply
Loneagle fred July 11 2014 at 12:27 AM

Is it possible he is the actual ANTICHRIST spoken of in the Bible???

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1 reply
blackbelt.ron Loneagle July 11 2014 at 7:42 AM

The Prince of Darkness..?
Yes, I wonder about that also.
"The End Years" might be the Obama years...!

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donpantanella July 10 2014 at 11:29 PM

Another low for America and it's "leader".

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2 replies
TR by ML Neal... donpantanella July 11 2014 at 1:15 AM

donpantanella....you were saying what????

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1 reply
supersarge1963 TR by ML Neal... July 11 2014 at 2:40 AM

The truth. What's that matter? Don't like the truth? We already knew that. Surprise us next time. Maybe come up with some REAL truths of your own. So far, you haven't really had any.

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wjs27skeet donpantanella July 11 2014 at 8:48 AM

donpantanella, there is non so blind as they who will not see! Under Bush we were respected around the world, by friends and enemies alike. When Bush left office: gas $1.75 gal ; unemployment 5.2% ; plenty of jobs with high wages; US medical care the best in the world. And now we have this, thanks Liberals.

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excursioner July 10 2014 at 11:38 PM

Yet another foreign policy bumble by the amateurs who are partying in the White House every night on our dime.
Seems Obama just can't get anything right.
*He can't have a website built for a reasonable rate that actually works.
*He can't keep emails for one of the most notoriously corrupt officials he has working for him (Louis Lerner).
*He can't protect our embassy's and ambassadors.
*He ALWAYS sides with the WRONG side in the Middle East.
*He invites millions of illegal aliens to come to our country and cause a humanitarian disaster on our border.
*His USDA advertises free food stamps in Mexico for those who come north.
*He picks the wrong fight in the Crimea and comes out of it looking weak.
*He GIVES guns to cartels and drug smugglers in Fast & Furious.
*He won't build a pipeline which will create thousands of good jobs.
*He gives our tax dollars away to his buddies like Solyndra ($500,000,000.00).
*He Tweets about kidnapped girls in Africa thinking that he is helping.
*He has lost ALL credibility in the world.
*He bombs the people of Libya in an unprovoked war of naked aggression and now the Al Queda flag flies there.
*Etc. etc.
Obama is a one man country wrecking ball!

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1 reply
TR by ML Neal... excursioner July 11 2014 at 1:16 AM

Well excursioner...that do you call George W. Bush? I guess he was the savior of the world?

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5 replies
mark and sheri July 10 2014 at 11:43 PM

Ever notice how this Administration has trouble learning from past mistakes? Ever notice how no one seems to be running this train? Ever notice how this Administration seems to have little respect for Europeans or Jews in Israel, both allies? When was the last time they were caught spying on a Muslim, or African Country? Weird, isn't it?

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1 reply
silkroadg mark and sheri July 11 2014 at 3:45 AM

Not really, because no need to spy on your OWN TEAM that are cozy with Mr. Obama at 666 Pennsylvania Avenue!!!

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1 reply
nkowalak silkroadg July 11 2014 at 2:46 PM

1600 Pennsylvania.

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dtate38 July 11 2014 at 6:21 AM

Well come on LEFT WING LOONS, try to defend this latest foreign policy scandal. I have to laugh when I recall OPRAH'S words referring to OBAMA as; "THE ONE." The one what?

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1 reply
. dtate38 July 11 2014 at 10:34 AM

The one Big A$$!

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Velocity105 July 10 2014 at 9:01 PM

It's too bad there's not more Merkel can do to drown our "president" in disgrace and dishonor. Veterans probably despise him now for not taking action in '08 when he commented "the VA system is broken and we need to fix it." He nearly ruined the country with these bailouts from which Goldman Sachs, AIG and other criminal enterprises emerged unscathed and unpunished. Merkel would probably like to wash her hands at least briefly of the U.S. Federal government, just wait until I expatriate Angela so I can watch it on CNN with a good german beer and laugh.

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2 replies
echobot20 Velocity105 July 10 2014 at 10:02 PM

Well in order to fix anything as large as the VA, you actually have to have honest people within the VA offices that won't hide information from you.

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foubabou Velocity105 July 11 2014 at 1:05 AM

I left in 2008 and can tell you it isn't so bad watching the mess the US is turning into from across the Atlantic. Didn't come to Germany but most anywhere in Europe is good.

Just keep the SS and retirement checks coming on time.

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1 reply
ERIC foubabou July 11 2014 at 2:05 AM

Forgive me if this is a stupid question but I thought if you moved to another country then you couldn't keep getting things like SS or veteran's disability. So, I'm mistaken then?

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usbobaruba July 10 2014 at 10:42 PM

Goes to show, if you change color and can talk, the liberals will vote you into power.
This was know over a week ago but the head of the CIA did not tell the administration.
Does our president know anyuthing about running a country or anything. Oh, he is good at blaming others.

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1 reply
TR by ML Neal... usbobaruba July 11 2014 at 1:15 AM

usbobaruba....do you really think the President of the United States spied on the Germans. IF the CIA did it, the CIA did it. Don't get you panties in a bunch about something you know NOTHING about.

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2 replies
supersarge1963 TR by ML Neal... July 11 2014 at 2:37 AM

And we're supposed to believe YOU know something about? Really? How do you know he didn't sit in the Rose Garden and read the reports the CIA sent up? He may not have gotten it himself, but he sure perused it. The CIA is also responsible for the Intel the G.W. used to go to war in Iraq, but according to you lefties, that was all his fault. Make up your mind some day.

Flag +2 rate up
coopdabomb TR by ML Neal... July 11 2014 at 10:08 AM

How can anyone stick up for this waste of human flesh

Flag +1 rate up
tennisleader July 11 2014 at 7:52 AM

liberals start the chant.... Its Bushes fault

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2 replies
Judith tennisleader July 11 2014 at 11:32 AM

No, it's not Bush's fault and that's not what we chant. We chant that we're sick of the double standard, i.e., whatever Bush did that was okay but if Obama does the same or even similar then it's not okay. That's the problem. Furthermore, it is true that Obama was left with a bunch of Bush messes to clean up and that's all a matter of public record, so look it up for yourself and stop the bully crappy you cons are so fond of disseminating.

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2 replies
BlessedWithABrain Judith July 11 2014 at 1:24 PM

Judith? Who is going to clean up the Obama messes? Gotta wonder if you'll use the same rhetoric when THAT happens.

Flag 0 rate up
rwaurora Judith July 11 2014 at 1:57 PM

Judith, please wake up.

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sambd6 tennisleader July 11 2014 at 2:37 PM

judith your buddy obuma said he was going to change everything remember? hope & change

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dtate38 July 11 2014 at 6:24 AM

And the word from the White house; "We just heard about this scandal in the news like everyone else."

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