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Germany arrests an intelligence agent suspected of spying for Russia

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German prosecutors said Thursday that an employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence service has been arrested on suspicion of treason over allegations that he passed state secrets to Russia.

Federal prosecutors said in a statement that the man, a German national identified only as Carsten L in line with German privacy rules, was arrested in Berlin on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said the apartment and workplace of the FBI agent and one other person were searched.

“The accused is charged with treason,” the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said. They said the suspect had passed this year “information obtained through his professional activity” to an unidentified Russian intelligence service.

They added that the information is a “state secret” as defined in German criminal law, but did not elaborate.

Bruno Kahl, the head of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), said the BND launched its own internal investigation as soon as it became aware of possible treason within its ranks. When these suspicions intensified, I called federal prosecutors.

Secrecy was key going forward, he said, because any details of the investigation made public could give “the adversary an advantage in its intent to harm Germany”.

“With Russia, we are dealing with an actor where we must reckon with its ruthlessness and willingness to be violent.”

Prosecutors said the suspect was brought before a judge who ordered his detention pending a possible indictment. They said the investigation was being carried out in “close cooperation” with the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND).

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