[Ed. – And no, this wouldn’t be “routine.” I really hope it’s not true.]
BERLIN — In the latest turn in the yearlong tensions with Germany over American spying, a German man was arrested this week on suspicion of passing secret documents to a foreign power, believed to be the United States. The American ambassador, John B. Emerson, was summoned to the Foreign Office here and urged to help with what German officials called a swift clarification of the case. …
While the White House and American intelligence officials refused to comment on the arrest, one senior American official said that reports in the German news media that the 31-year-old man under arrest had been working for the United States for at least two years “threaten to undo all the repair work” the two sides have been trying to achieve.
The details of the latest case were murky. The news media reports suggested that the man, a midlevel employee of the Federal Intelligence Service, was originally arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia. The Kremlin has markedly stepped up recruitment of German informants since the uprisings in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions aimed at Russia’s economy.
But according to the news reports and the account of the American official, the man told his interrogators he had been working for the United States for some time.
German news reports said that his work included reporting on the investigations into the N.S.A.’s activities in Germany, which are the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, but the American official said he had no knowledge of whether that was the case. He spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid complicating a diplomatically fragile intelligence issue.