Germany Charges Suspected U.S. And Russian Spy With Treason

| by Reuters

German prosecutors said on Thursday they had charged a former employee of the BND foreign intelligence agency with treason and suspect he gave secrets to both the United States and Russia up until last year.

The arrest last year of the man, identified as Markus R., chilled relations between Berlin and Washington, the closest of allies during the Cold War, and followed revelations of extensive snooping on Germany by the U.S. National Security Agency.

The 32-year-old man is accused of passing information to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 2008 until mid-2014, prosecutors in Karlsruhe said in a statement.

He provided the Americans with numerous official and BND internal documents and in return received at least 95,000 euros ($106,000). In mid-2014, Markus R. handed over three documents to the Russian consulate in Munich.

Arrested in July last year on suspicion of spying for the Americans, he was charged on Aug. 11 this year on two counts of treason, breaking official secrets and corruption, said prosecutors.

He has not made any public comment on the charges.

Markus R. had worked from Dec. 2007 for the BND and soon after offered help to the CIA. From May 2008 until his arrest, had worked in a department responsible for the protection of soldiers serving abroad, with access to a wide range of sensitive material.

"In this way, the accused endangered ... the security of Germany," said prosecutors in a statement.

The documents he passed to the Russian consulate in Munich also posed a security risk to Germany, they said.

If found guilty, Markus R., currently in detention, could be jailed for at least a year.

The original revelations, two years ago, about the extent of U.S. surveillance in Germany, including bugging the phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel, stemmed from former U.S. NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

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