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November 20, 2019
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German FM slams ‘stupidity’ of alleged US spying

BERLIN: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Thursday accused the United States of “stupidity” over reports of alleged US spying on its European ally, AFP reported.

Schaeuble’s unusually frank comment came after German authorities said Wednesday they were investigating the second case in less than a week of possible US spy activities in Germany.

Schaeuble acknowledged that transatlantic intelligence cooperation had foiled terrorist threats, but said this did not mean “the Americans may recruit third-rate people” in Germany as their secret sources.

“That is just so stupid, and so much stupidity just makes you want to cry,” said Schaeuble, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to public broadcaster Phoenix.

“That’s why the chancellor is ‘not amused’,” he added, using the English phrase for Merkel’s response to the latest news.

German police on Wednesday searched the Berlin-area home and office of a man who, local media reported, is a German military employee accused of passing secrets to the United States.

The case comes on the heels of news on Friday that a 31-year-old German BND intelligence service operative had been arrested, suspected of having sold over 200 documents to the CIA.

The documents reportedly included papers on a German parliamentary panel probing the mass surveillance activities of the US National Security Agency, whose targets have included Merkel’s mobile phone.