House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce called Germany’s dismissal of a CIA station chief an overreaction Friday morning.
Germany dismissed the CIA station chief in Berlin on Thursday after German officials discovered two U.S. spies and alleged espionage against the German government.
“If the allegations prove to be true… then I simply want to say common sense tells me that spying against allies is a waste of energy,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel shortly before the dismissasl. “There are huge problems, which should be given priority over the question of whether allies should spy on each other.”
The dismissal was a dramatic and possibly unprecedented move.
“I can’t recall ever getting to the point where a friendly service actually ejected somebody,” said CIA veteran John A. Rizzo. “The Germans must feel compelled to do this for political reasons, because there are certainly ways to convey one’s displeasure without taking this kind of overt step.” The very-public nature of the dismissal was “striking,” he added. (RELATED: Merkel Calls Obama Over Suspicion U.S. Monitored Her Phone)
Royce, who said he met with a German delegation the day of the dismissal, said that while the dismissal shows “how seriously this situation is taken in Germany…it would be wise for the Germans to inquire about the activities of their own intelligence services overseas, in terms of perspective.” Royce was speaking to the press at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Friday.
The alleged espionage “has destroyed our trust [in the U.S.],” said one German representative. “We need to push now for clear answers in this supposedly close relationship.”
When asked directly whether he thought the Germans were being “overly sensitive,” he demurred, seeming to suggest that either German politicians are unaware of their own intelligence operations or that they’re feigning ignorance for the sake of moral indignation. “Elected representatives in Germany should inquire…I think it might put things in perspective.”