Germany's popular tabloid newspaper Bild reported on Friday a new directive that co-operation would be cut to the minimum. This would not include areas that immediately affected German security interests such as security of the nation's soldiers in Afghanistan or terrorist threats, Bild said, quoting intelligence service officials in Berlin.
The directive was “a direct response” to a deepening transatlantic espionage scandal in which two German state employees are suspected of having spied for the US, the newspaper said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Thursday expelled the top US intelligence official in Berlin over allegations of espionage - a move described by experts as being similar to “capital punishment” in diplomatic relations between allied countries.
The US embassy official was asked to leave after the Federal Prosecutor began investigating spying practices, according to a statement from Merkel’s Chancellery.
German lawmakers were briefed by investigators in Berlin on two cases of suspected espionage, the first involving a 31-year-old employee of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, charged with passing classified documents. The second involved a suspect identified as a Defense Ministry employee.
Merkel, speaking in China on July 7, called the 31-year-old's arrest a “serious case” that, if true, violated “trusting co-operation” between allies.