Chairman of the Bundestag's subcommittee for foreign affairs, Norbert Rottgen, holds a news conference at the German Embassy in Washington. Photo: Reuters
Berlin: German politicians are furious at news of a suspected US spy in the defence ministry, which came just days after the arrest of a German foreign intelligence agency worker as a suspected CIA informant.
After federal prosecutors said authorities had conducted searches in connection with a second spying case, Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partners said Washington should remove any US embassy staff involved and cease spying on its ally.
Security sources said the latest suspect to face investigation was from the military and worked in the Defence Ministry in Berlin, but no arrest appeared to have been made. Other sources close to the investigation said the suspect was a German Foreign Ministry official on assignment at the Defence Ministry.
The German defence ministry in Berlin. German authorities are investigating a second spy case involving the US, a week after the arrest of a German intelligence employee as a double agent. Photo: AP
The Defence Ministry confirmed its premises had been searched but gave no other details.
Government officials and politicians seemed at a loss to convey their shock at this new case, just days after the US ambassador, John Emerson, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry over reports that a mid-level employee of Germany's intelligence service had confessed, after his arrest, to passing about 200 documents to the Americans.
A delegation from the Bundestag's foreign affairs committee hastened to New York and Washington this week, but its leader reported that US officials and politicians were slow to grasp the damage to relations.
Edward Snowden has asked for his asylum status in Russia to be extended. Photo: Channel 4
"At some point, the 'no comment' will not be enough," Norbert Rottgen, the committee's head and an influential member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Party, said.
The Chancellor faces political fallout for not criticising President Barack Obama sufficiently for alleged surveillance in Germany by the US National Security Agency, which targeted her mobile phone for eavesdropping.
In Moscow, the lawyer for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said he had applied to have his client's temporary asylum extended.
Anatoly Kucherna said he had submitted documents to the Moscow branch of the Federal Migration Service for Mr Snowden to remain in Russia after his one-year asylum expires on July 31.
A new report based on documents provided by Mr Snowden has identified five American Muslims, including the leader of a civil rights group, as having been subjected to surveillance by the National Security Agency.
The disclosure of what were described as specific domestic surveillance targets by The Intercept online magazine was a rare glimpse into some of the most closely held secrets of counter-espionage and terrorism investigators. The article raised questions about the basis for any domestic spying, even as it was condemned by the government as irresponsible and damaging to national security.
The report was based on what The Intercept described as a spreadsheet of 7485 email addresses said to have been monitored from 2002 to 2008, and one of its writers was Glenn Greenwald, a primary recipient of the documents leaked by Mr Snowden, a former NSA contractor.
New York Times, Reuters