‘Third Strike’ Gets Top US Spy Booted From Germany

The German government asked the CIA’s station chief in Berlin to leave the country Thursday following multiple accusations of U.S. spying on Germany.
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jul 10, 2014

​Germany has expelled the CIA’s station chief in Berlin over reported cases of U.S. spying in the country. (Via Getty Images)

A Bloomberg correspondent in Berlin says, “This is a massive diplomatic rift.”

Or, as The Washington Post puts it, “an unusual action among allies that is a very public expression of anger.” But note, media aren’t calling this decision unwarranted.

A German government spokesperson explained the move, saying, “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 U.S. intelligence agencies in Germany.” (Via Getty Images)

Ironically, the move might actually be best explained by the very American adage, “three strikes, you’re out.”

Within a week, there have been two allegations of U.S. spying in Germany. (Via Getty Images)

Most recently, “They’re investigating a german defense official accused of passing secrets to Washington.” (Via CNN)

Before that, The Guardian reports, a German intelligence officer confessed to handing over more than 200 confidential files to the CIA.

And, of course, the first, and arguably most major incident came last year when an NSA leak revealed the U.S. had tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone. President Obama assured the country that wouldn't happen again. (Via Getty Images, Getty Images)

But, as The Telegraph says, “The two alleged cases of American espionage in Germany have added a new chill to the already-strained relationship between Washington and Berlin on intelligence matters.”

There has even been speculation that Germany might return the not-so-welcome favor and start spying on the U.S.

For now – at least publicly – we’ve only seen the expulsion. A member of Merkel’s party told The New York Times the move is “a political reaction of the government to the lack of willingness of U.S. authorities to help clear up any questions arising in the past year.”

The U.S. has declined to comment on the spying allegations publicly. However, both nations have taken this opportunity to stress the importance of the relationship.

But don’t be surprised if you hear Germany asking for further proof of America’s trust. The country has long wanted a non-espionage pact with the U.S. and could make another push in light of this news. (Via Getty Images)

Both the Obama and Bush administrations have reportedly resisted this request in the past. (Via Getty Images)