White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that he could not confirm reports that a German intelligence officer had been selling secret documents to the United States.
Earnest said he does not want to interfere with the ongoing investigation in Germany and because it involves an intelligence issue.
What I can say, more generally, though, is the relationship that the United States has with Germany is incredibly important, he told reporters at his daily briefing. 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. All of those things are high priorities not just to this administration, but to this country. So we're going to work with the Germans to resolve this situation appropriately.
Obama spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel last Thursday, but Earnest said the issue was not raised in that call.
If this is true, then I believe we are dealing with a very serious development, Merkel said Monday at a news conference 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.