[Ed. – Smart power.]
Germany’s relations with the United States plunged to a low point Thursday, with the government demanding the expulsion of the chief American intelligence official stationed here because, it said, Washington has refused to cooperate with German inquiries into United States intelligence activities.
“The representative of the U.S. intelligence services at the United States Embassy has been asked to leave Germany,” a government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement.
German officials have been frustrated in their efforts to receive clarification from Washington since last summer, when it was reported that the National Security Agency had been monitoring the digital communications of millions of Germans. The government tamped down that uproar, but fury flared anew when it was revealed last fall that the N.S.A. had been monitoring Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
Although President Obama has offered assurances that the United States will no longer spy on leaders like Ms. Merkel, two cases of suspected American espionage that have come to light in the past eight days have sparked a fresh round of outrage. …
As Chancellor Merkel put it on Thursday, the two countries have better things to do than “waste energy spying” on each other. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, a close Merkel ally, said the latest espionage cases did not reflect well on the Americans. “With so much stupidity, you can only weep,” he said late Wednesday. “And that is why the chancellor is ‘not amused.’ ”