US intelligence chief leaves Germany due to spy row
The representative of U.S. intelligence agencies in Germany has left Berlin, fulfilling a request from the German government for him to leave as consequence of a U.S. spy row, German media reported on Thursday.
Citing government sources, Spiegel Online said the station chief of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had gone on Thursday. Shortly after his departure, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin informed the German government.
The U.S. intelligence chief is reportedly being responsible for activities of U.S. intelligence in Germany for about a year. He was asked to leave the country last Thursday.
That move followed recent reports that U.S. intelligence had recruited two Germans -- a man who worked at the country's foreign intelligence agency and an employee of the Defense Ministry -- to work for the U.S. as information sources.
The latest spy row has spared anger in Germany and led to a new round of tensions in German-American relations, which have been strained by last year's revelations of U.S. data gathering practices, especially allegations about the tapping of Merkel's mobile phone.
In Sunday's interview with German public broadcaster ZDF, Merkel said the latest espionage scandal was a proof "that we have different points of view about the work of intelligence services," calling for "calm and persistent talks" with the United States on their intelligence cooperation.
Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday discussed the current situation on telephone -- the first time the two leaders held direct talks since the unmasking of alleged U.S. spies.
Little was disclosed about the conversation between the leaders. A White House statement said Obama and Merkel "exchanged views on U.S. -German intelligence cooperation, and the president said he'd remain in close communication on ways to improve cooperation going forward."