Germany summoned the U.S. ambassador in Berlin on Friday after the arrest of a man reported to have spied for the United States, heightening friction between the two countries over purported U.S. eavesdropping in Germany.
U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson was called in “in connection with an investigation by the federal prosecutor,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The U.S. envoy “was asked to help in the swift clarification” of the case, it added.
Federal prosecutors say a 31-year-old German man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of spying for foreign intelligence services. They did not identify the suspect or the intelligence services.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters that Chancellor Angela Merkel been personally informed of the arrest.
He declined to comment on reports by Der Spiegel magazine and the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the man worked for Germany’s foreign intelligence service, known by its German acronym BND.
The newspapers, which didn’t identify their sources, said the man was suspected of passing on information about a German parliamentary committee investigating the activities of U.S. and other intelligence agencies in Germany. He claimed to have worked with U.S. intelligence since 2012, they reported.