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AKIPRESS.COM - On the sidelines of talks on Iran's nuclear program in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry turned to football to break the ice with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, before the two discussed the row over alleged U.S. spies, Deutsche Welle reported.
Recent charges that the United States has recruited employees of Germany's foreign intelligence service and Defense Ministry have strained relations between the two countries – as has a new report that several spies can be found at all levels of government.
On Sunday, the mass-market newspaper Bild reported that spies who have infiltrated several German ministries have not met with their U.S. handlers during the diplomatic row. Bild also reported that growing pressure in Germany has caused U.S. intelligence operatives to now consider basing their recruitment activities in Warsaw or Prague.
In an interview with the public broadcaster ZDF on Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the U.S. and Germany have “fundamentally different views” about how intelligence agencies should operate. She said partners should not spy on each other, though she acknowledged that it would be difficult to convince the United States to change its ways. Despite their differences, Merkel wants German and U.S. intelligence agencies to continue cooperating.
Over the past two weeks, authorities have uncovered two Germans who allegedly were working for the U.S. as spies. In the first case, a BND employee admitted to spying for the United States after the German government alleged that he had sold more than 200 documents to the CIA for $34,000. In the second case, an employee at the Defense Ministry has been questioned on suspicion of espionage but has denied the allegations.
On Thursday, Germany asked the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country in response to U.S. spying.