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Germany took the dramatic step Thursday of asking the top U.S. intelligence official in Berlin to leave the country in the wake of two suspected cases of American spying and the tension caused by eavesdropping by the National Security Agency. "The representative of the U.S. intelligence services at the United States embassy has been asked to leave Germany," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

The U.S. Embassy in Berlin said it would not comment on intelligence matters “as a standard practice” but said in a statement: “Our security relationship with Germany remains very important: it keeps Germans and Americans safe. It is also essential that our close cooperation with our German government partners continue in all areas.” The White House issued a similar statement, adding: “We will continue to be in touch with the German government in appropriate channels."


— Andy Eckardt, Andrea Mitchell and Alastair Jamieson