By Justin Sink - 07/09/14 08:37 AM EDT
White House officials are frustrated that the CIA didn’t immediately inform them that a German intelligence officer spying for the U.S. had been captured by Germany, according to a report Wednesday in The New York Times.
President Obama was unaware of the arrest a full day after it occurred, administration officials told the paper, putting him in a precarious position when he phoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
Also unclear is whether the station chief in Berlin informed his superiors in Langley of the arrest, or whether they too remained in the dark.
The incident threatens to further strain Obama’s relationship with Merkel, who expressed outrage after documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed her personal cellphone had been targeted for monitoring.
Merkel said, if the allegations were true, it would be “a very serious development,” during a press conference Monday morning in Beijing.
“I would see this as a clear contradiction to what I understand as trusting cooperation of intelligence services as well as of partners,” she said.
The White House has not confirmed the German intelligence employee was spying for the U.S., although an anonymous official confirmed to CBS News that the CIA was involved in recruiting the individual to provide information about the German government.
Press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House would work with Germany to “resolve” outrage over the allegations.
“The relationship that the United States has with Germany is incredibly important,” Earnest said. “This is a very close partnership that we have on a range of security issues, including some intelligence issues. That partnership is built on respect and it's built on decades of cooperation and shared values.”