In yet another bizarre turn in the ever-unraveling NSA spying scandal, German intelligence services have arrested a German intelligence officer for passing on top-secret documents to a foreign service for payment.
The recipient of those documents is not Russia, or China, or North Korea: instead, it is the United States, and the NSA in particular.
After it was revealed that the NSA had tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, it was almost unconscionable that the NSA would continue spying on the government of an ally, but the news continues to put the NSA in a worse light.
The man, whose name hasn't been released as of yet, is a 31-year old German intelligence analyst with Germany's foreign intelligence service (BND) who reportedly offered his services to the NSA. His compensation for moving the 218 documents was 25,000 euros ($34,000). The documents in question pertained to a top-secret German parliament inquiry about the Snowden documents and their impact on German government and society. The arrested man himself, it has been reported, had no direct contact with the parliament committee, meaning that he likely had an accomplice.
The double agent met with US agents at least 3 times between 2012 and 2014 in Austria, exchanging the documents on thumb drives for the money. Like in a classic spy novel, he was suspected to be meeting with the Russians, but once German intelligence caught up with the rogue agent, they discovered, according to German newspaper Bild, that he was selling the information to the NSA.
The NSA has been going to extreme lengths to stem the tide of the Snowden leaks, going so far as to ground a plane belonging to the government of Bolivia that was leaving Moscow in 2013 due to the belief that Snowden had been smuggled aboard.
Merkel's government has demanded a straightforward and honest explanation for the NSA's utilization of a German intelligence officer, but as of yet, there has been no word from the US government.
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