By Justin Sink - 07/12/14 12:16 PM EDT
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) accused Germany of throwing a “political temper tantrum” after ordering the CIA station chief to leave the country over allegations the U.S. had recruited two government officials to spy.
“It just doesn't seem like a very adult reaction to expel the CIA chief from Germany,” Rogers said in an interview with CNN. “And it's concerning and it's a political temper tantrum like I've never seen before that I think is not productive, it is jeopardizing both intelligence cooperation and relationships with beyond the intelligence relationship between America and Germany.”
“This is something that we would expect from the Russians. We would expect from the Iranians. We would expect from the North Koreans. We don't expect from our allies, the Germans where they know of this really important intelligence relationship,” Rogers said.
The Michigan Republican suggested German Chancellor Angela Merkel had taken “a political knee-jerk reaction” to the allegations. Surveillance is a particularly potent political issue in Germany, where many citizens lived under Soviet rule for decades. Merkel’s family was targeted by the East German secret police while she was growing up, and has previously expressed personal outrage over revelations the NSA was monitoring her cell phone conversations.
But Rogers said Germany was guilty of spying on the U.S. as well.
“As the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I feel very confident in telling you and your viewers, listen, the German Intelligence Services, they're engaged in espionage including against the U.S. persons,” Rogers said. “And so I'm a little surprised by this whole reaction.”
On Saturday, Merkel said she didn’t think the U.S. would stop spying on Germany, despite the diplomatic flap.
"I think it's not that easy to convince the Americans ... to completely change the way their intelligence services work,” Merkel said in an interview with ZDF translated by the Associated Press. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/merkel-doubtful-us-will-stop-spying-germany
On Friday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest appeared to indicate the U.S. believed the alleged spying between the allies was par for the course in comments to reporters.
“Allies with sophisticated intelligence agencies like the United States and Germany understand with some degree of detail exactly what those intelligence relationships and activities entail,” Earnest said.