Report: German defense official may not have been spying for US

A German defense official believed to have been giving secrets to Washington may in fact have just maintained a friendly relationship with U.S. State Department representatives.

If the accusations against the unnamed official turn out to be unfounded, it might put relations between Washington and Berlin on a road to recovery after a week that has seen them reach their greatest nadir in a decade.

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expelled the top American intelligence official from the country following a revelation that two men, one of them the defense official, slipped hundreds of classified German files to the CIA.

The almost unprecedented move increased tensions between the two governments already wary of each other after documents leaked last year by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed the agency had secretly eavesdropped on Merkel’s cellphone communications.

The defense official, whose office and home were searched by police earlier this week, has not been arrested, sources familiar with the case told Reuters.

Obama administration officials hope the ongoing probe will eventually be closed without any arrest, they told the news service.

The State Department decline to comment on the story and the White House remains mum on the latest developments.

“We’re not going to comment on the details of a German law enforcement matter,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.