The officials, who are knowledgeable about the details of the
case, said the U.S. government believes the relationship between the
German defense official and his State Department contact was a
If that is borne out by the on-going German investigation, it could
help cool a crisis in U.S.-German security cooperation that has seen
two Germans probed for spying for Washington and Germany's expulsion
of the top U.S. intelligence official in Berlin.
At the least, the investigation involving the German defense
official appears murkier than the other, separate incident, which
came earlier. In that case, an employee of Germany's foreign
intelligence agency, known as the BND, was arrested on suspicion of
spying for the CIA and possibly Russia.
The two cases, which followed revelations last year of U.S.
electronic eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have
chilled security ties between the two countries.
On Thursday, the German government said it was taking the nearly
unprecedented step of asking the CIA station chief, who coordinates
U.S. intelligence cooperation with German counterparts, to leave the
In the case of the German defense official, although his workspace
and residence were raided by police several days ago, he had not
been arrested as of Friday, a German government source said.
Reuters is withholding the individual's name from publication.
The administration of President Barack Obama hopes the German
investigation will prove unproductive and will be closed without any
arrest, two officials said. However, Germany's probe is continuing.
[to top of second column]
The State Department declined comment. Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman
for the National Security Council, said: "We're not going to comment
on the details of a German law enforcement matter."
U.S. agencies have also refused public comment on the BND employee's
case. However, U.S. government officials privately acknowledged that
the BND employee had been in contact with the CIA and that the
agency believed it had obtained valuable information from him.
Some security and intelligence officials have raised questions about
whether the CIA should have continued to work with the BND informant
after the eavesdropping revelations last year, based on documents
leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward
Snowden, sparked tensions in U.S.-German relations.
Germans were particularly angered by the disclosure, based on
documents provided by Snowden, that Merkel's cellphone was on an NSA
list of eavesdropping targets.
(Editing by Warren Strobel and Leslie Adler)
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