German Intelligence Might Start Spying On U.S. Spies

Following the latest spying scandal, German officials want to start spying on all foreign intelligence missions in the country.
Posted at 9:12 PM, Jul 07, 2014

German chancellor Angela Merkel has called the recent revelation of U.S. spying in her nation "serious" and says it violates the two countries' trust. Monday, we got our first hint at what the German government might do about it. (Via Getty Images)

The country's interior minister told German newspaper Bild that the policy of not spying on NATO allies should come to an end, saying German intelligence forces need "360-degree vision" — essentially saying they should begin spying on the U.S.

The minister was responding to the latest news that the CIA might have paid a German intelligence agent for classified documents, a revelation that, if true, could damage the decades-old tradition of cooperation between the two countries.

The Telegraph says, "​The intelligence services of the United States, Britain and France had hitherto been regarded as 'friendly' to Germany. Their diplomatic and information gathering activities were exempted from surveillance." But now, a leading German politician says, "We must focus more strongly on our so-called allies."

Some German politicians have even called for any U.S. agents involved in the double-agent scandal to be kicked out of the country. One party leader told Der Spiegel the U.S. can treat Germany's intelligence community as a partner or as a surveillance target, but not both.

Now, it should come as no surprise that the U.S. conducts intelligence gathering missions in Germany.

Last year, documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed the U.S. had even tapped Merkel's cell phone. But an opinion columnist for Deutsche Welle says for U.S. intelligence to not have laid low after the last scandal shows they don't much care what Germans think. (Via Getty Images)

"To continue US spying activities ... as if nothing had happened in the past year is not just brazen. It's like sending in the wrecking ball while workers are supposedly trying to repair the badly damaged transatlantic house."

But a former CIA agent told CNN the events of the past year in Ukraine have made insight into Germany's leadership too important to pass up. (Via Getty Images)

"We want to know what Merkel's doing, because if she changes course we have to advise the president. So if you're sitting out at Langley, you say 'This is helpful.' Yes, I can see how this happened."

Neither the CIA nor The White House have commented on the recent scandal. Germany's parliament has opened an investigation into the so-called "double agent," but it's expected to take several months.