Germany Charges Own Spy With Treason for Sharing Secrets with CIA and Russia

The spy, arrested last summer, is accused of being paid more than $100,000 by the CIA to snoop on Germany.

National Journal
Aug. 20, 2015, 6:15 a.m.

BER­LIN — The Ger­man gov­ern­ment has charged one of its own for­eign-in­tel­li­gence spies with treas­on for al­legedly shar­ing secret files with both the CIA and Rus­si­an in­tel­li­gence agents.

The spy, iden­ti­fied only as Markus R. due to Ger­man pri­vacy law, is ac­cused of passing secrets to the CIA from 2008 un­til his ar­rest in Ju­ly of last year while em­ployed at the Ger­man spy agency known as the BND. In­vest­ig­at­ors also be­lieve Markus R. sent emails con­tain­ing secret in­form­a­tion to the Rus­si­an con­su­late in Mu­nich, ac­cord­ing to Der Spiegel.

In ad­di­tion to treas­on, fed­er­al Ger­man pro­sec­utors have also charged the man with tak­ing bribes and dis­clos­ing of­fi­cial state secrets. He is be­lieved to have re­ceived more than $100,000 in com­pens­a­tion from the CIA for his ser­vices.

The charges rep­res­ent just the latest flare up of dif­fi­culties between the United States and Ger­many over for­eign-in­tel­li­gence policy in re­cent years. The re­la­tion­ship between the two al­lies be­came strained fol­low­ing the 2013 leaks of former Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency con­tract­or Ed­ward Snowden, who resides in Mo­scow un­der asylum. The secret files pur­por­ted to show that the NSA had tapped Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s cell phone.

Ten­sions peaked last sum­mer, when Merkel told the CIA’s spy chief in Ber­lin to leave the coun­try amid con­tin­ued agit­a­tion about U.S. es­pi­on­age. Her out­rage was due to the United States ap­par­ently re­cruit­ing an­oth­er spy shortly after Markus R. had been ar­res­ted.

“That is just so stu­pid, and so much stu­pid­ity just makes you want to cry,” Wolfgang Schauble, Ger­many’s fin­ance min­is­ter and a close ally to Merkel, said at the time.

Though Pres­id­ent Obama and Merkel have ap­peared to re­pair their re­la­tion­ship in re­cent months, sur­veil­lance re­mains a sens­it­ive top­ic in Ger­many, due in part to the memory of the Nazi re­gime and the Stasi, the op­press­ive secret po­lice that op­er­ated in East Ger­many be­fore the fall of the Ber­lin Wall.

Re­cently, Merkel has faced pub­lic scru­tiny due to doc­u­ments show­ing that the BND may have been co­oper­at­ing with the NSA to spy on Ger­man cit­izens. And earli­er this sum­mer, Ger­many’s top pro­sec­utor brought treas­on charges against two journ­al­ists for pub­lish­ing secret doc­u­ments de­tail­ing Ger­many’s plans to en­hance its mon­it­or­ing of so­cial me­dia. That move sparked an up­roar, prompt­ing the coun­try’s justice min­is­ter earli­er this month to fire the pro­sec­utor and aban­don the in­quiry.

Markus R. is be­lieved to have shared doc­u­ments with the CIA re­lated to a Ger­man par­lia­ment­ary in­quiry set up after the Snowden rev­el­a­tions to in­vest­ig­ate NSA sur­veil­lance on Ger­man cit­izens, ac­cord­ing to a 2014 Re­u­ters re­port. Though the United States has re­fused to com­ment pub­licly on the case, Amer­ic­an of­fi­cials privately told the wire ser­vice that the spy’s work was valu­able — even while con­ced­ing that it is risky to trust a so-called “walk-in agent.”

The CIA did not not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. A Ger­man gov­ern­ment spokes­per­son also not would com­ment be­cause the case is an on­go­ing in­vest­ig­a­tion.

What We're Following See More »
APPEARED ON COLBERT
Gillibrand Announces Exploratory Committee
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS
TOURING IOWA
Sherrod Brown Also in 2020 Mode
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
FIRST KNOWN INCIDENT OF TRUMP DIRECTLY REQUESTING A COVER-UP
Report: Trump Told Cohen to Lie to Congress
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter. Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. 'Make it happen,' the sources said Trump told Cohen."

Source:
OFFICE WILL BE BASED IN BALTIMORE
Kamala Harris Announces for President
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
SAYS OFFER IS NOT "IN GOOD FAITH"
Pelosi Rejects Trump's Immigration Offer
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login