'Double agent' arrested in Germany for passing information on NSA inquiry to the US

The incident has provoked outrage in Germany after the Snowden leaks

An alleged spy has been arrested in Germany accused of passing the US information from a committee looking into NSA activities.

It has heightened diplomatic tensions between the two countries following allegations in the Edward Snowden leaks that the US electronic spy agency tapped Angela Merkel’s phone along with wider surveillance of German citizens.

The German government has not denied reports by Der Spiegel and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the suspected spy was a double agent and worked for Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND.

The newspapers said the man allegedly passed the US information about a German parliamentary committee’s investigation into the NSA’s activities.

He claimed to have worked with US intelligence since 2012, they reported.

A spokesman for the German government, Steffen Seibert, told reporters that the Chancellor and members of the parliamentary panel had been informed of the arrest.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama appear to be having an intense conversation outside the G20 summit, with Merkel using her hand to state a point German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama outside the G20 summit Federal prosecutors confirmed a 31-year-old German man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of spying for foreign intelligence services.

They did not identify the suspect or say which agency he was suspected of working with.

Germany summoned the US ambassador in Berlin on Friday.

A statement from the foreign ministry said John B. Emerson was called in “in connection with an investigation by the federal prosecutor” and “was asked to help in the swift clarification” of the case.

The latest allegations of spying by the US, Germany’s supposed ally, have provoked outrage across the country, where memories of espionage by the Stasi secret police are still fresh for some residents.

Martina Renner, a member of the opposition Left Party on the NSA inquiry panel, said the case indicated that anyone who examined Snowden's revelations in detail was subject to scrutiny by US intelligence agencies.

“If the media reports are confirmed then there can't just be a legal response, there also has to be a political response,” she said.

Her panel heard testimony on Thursday from two former NSA employees, Thomas Drake and William Binney.

In his testimony, Mr Drake claimed that cooperation between the NSA and Germany's BND greatly increased after the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States.

He described the German spy agency as an “appendage” of the NSA.

Mr Seibert claimed Merkel discussed “foreign policy matters” in a telephone conversation with President Barack Obama on Thursday.

He said the conversation focused on Ukraine but would not say whether the arrest was also discussed.

Thomas Opperman, secretary of the Social Democratic Party group, said: “If the espionage allegations are proved, it is an outrageous attack on our parliamentary freedom.

“There is no justification for any power or country to enlist intelligence agents to spy on parliament.”

Katrin Göring-Eckardt, leader of Germany’s Green Party, told Spiegel Online: “All co-operation between German security services and allied agencies need to be reviewed.

“Should the suspected intelligence service spying on the parliamentary investigative committee be proved, it will be a huge fiasco for the BND and the government.”

The US National Security Council declined to comment.

Additional reporting by AP

Read more: 'US spies tapped Angela Merkel's phone for years'
NSA 'in bed' with German intelligence
Outrage in Spain as allegations emerge NSA tapped 60m calls
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Finance Assistant - Automotive

£15500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading Motor Re...

Recruitment Genius: General Maintenance Person - Automotive

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading Motor Re...

Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Meeter-Greeter - Automotive

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading Motor Re...

Recruitment Genius: Course Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Course Manager is required to join a m...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen