German Chancellor Angela Merkel said allegations that a German man worked as a double agent for U.S. intelligence were serious and, if true, were a clear contradiction of what cooperation between partners is supposed to be about.
The case risks further straining ties with Washington, which have been sorely tested by revelations last year of large-scale snooping on Germany by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
Merkel while addressing a news conference in Beijing, standing next to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that if the reports were correct it would be a serious case.
The White House and State Department have so far declined to comment on the arrest of a 31-year-old employee of Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency.
According to intelligence and political sources, the man admits passing documents to a U.S. contact which include information about a parliamentary committee looking into allegations by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden that Washington carried out major surveillance in Germany, including monitoring Merkel’s phone.