U.S. top spy to leave Berlin by end of week: newspaper

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 15, 2014 11:48 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - The CIA station chief in Berlin ordered out by Germany over fresh allegations of U.S. spying will leave the country by the end of the week, a German newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Bild mass daily cited security sources, adding it was only a "matter of days" now. The German Foreign Office declined to comment and referred to previous statements that the government expected the intelligence representative to leave "promptly".

Bild said it had significantly increased pressure on the U.S. Embassy in recent days to fix a departure date.

The decision to order the CIA representative out came after dramatic reports of U.S. espionage in Germany. Public outrage at the revelations put pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take action against the United States.

Last week, Berlin said it had discovered a suspected U.S. spy in the Defence 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 scandal has chilled relations between Berlin and Washington to levels not seen since Merkel's predecessor opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. It follows allegations last year that American agents bugged Merkel's phone.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman declined to comment beyond this statement: "The United States understands the importance of this issue and as a matter of course respects the German government’s wishes regarding the accreditation and presence of U.S. diplomats in Germany."

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt and Sabine Siebold; editing by Andrew Roche)