In the aftermath of the controversy over the United States spy programs such as "Prism," one agent working for German intelligence agency was arrested and charged with suspicion of spying for the U.S., according to European news sources on Friday.
The suspect allegedly gathered classified information about a special committee set up by the German parliament to investigate accusations of U.S. espionage including the stories regarding the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) bugging the phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel as part of President Barack Obama's huge surveillance program.
European news media are reporting that the suspect arrested this week is an employee of the federal intelligence agency, known as the BND. The only description given is that he's a white male in his early 30's. The German prosecutor's office provided no addition information.
Media sources claim that Ms. Merkel was informed about the arrest, as were the members of the parliamentary committee investigating the activities of foreign intelligence agencies in Germany.
"The matter is serious, it is clear," according to the German Allgemeine newspaper, while Der Spiegel news magazine said "the man was believed to have passed secret documents to a U.S. contact in exchange for money."
The news about the NSA's global spy program -- including programs such as Prism -- had allegedly been detailed in classified documents stolen and leaked by a former contracted intelligence analyst, Edward Snowden, who is still a fugitive living in Russia.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in responding to allegations that the Obama administration bugged the offices of its allies, told the European media that such activities aren't unusual in geopolitical relations. Kerry said that he's also eager to find out the truth about the accusations.
“Operation of the Section 702 (Prism) program has been subjected to judicial oversight and extensive internal supervision,” the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) wrote in a report, “and the board has found no evidence of intentional abuse.”