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Merkel shows door to Berlin CIA chief

Berlin, July 10: The CIA station chief in Berlin was today asked to leave Germany in a dramatic escalation of the spying row which is poisoning relations between the Nato allies.

The expulsion followed two recent cases where German officials were caught allegedly passing secrets to the Americans and evoked memories of the Cold War spy dramas played out in the once-divided city.

Chancellor Merkel acted to show her indignation at serial bouts of espionage from a supposedly friendly power and the refusal of Washington to act decisively after revelations that the US National Security Agency eavesdropped for years on millions of German communications including her own phone.

In a few short years following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the image of the US in Germany has been transformed from its staunchest ally into a sinister monster indifferent to Merkel’s request of a “no spy” agreement after the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

“The representative of the US intelligence services at the US embassy has been asked to leave Germany,” said Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for Merkel, in a statement.

“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 US intelligence agencies in Germany,” he said.

“The government takes the matter very seriously.”

Seibert added that Germany continued to seek “close and trusting” cooperation with its western partners “especially the US”. In unusually blunt remarks, Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, accused the US of “stupidity” over its alleged spying activity and said that his boss Merkel was “not amused”.

Schaeuble acknowledged that transatlantic intelligence cooperation had foiled terrorist threats but said this did not mean that “the Americans may recruit third-rate people” in Germany as their secret sources. “That is just so stupid, and so much stupidity just makes you want to cry,” said Schaeuble.

 
 
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