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Suspected Russian spy arrested in German intelligence agency

December 22, 2022

An employee of the German intelligence agency the BND has been arrested after being suspected of sending classified information to Russia.

The headquarters of Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND
Image: Christoph Hardt/Geisler-Fotopress/picture alliance

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday arrested an employee of Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, on suspicion of treason after an internal BND investigation revealed that he had allegedly been leaking classified information to Russia.

Prosecutors said that the suspect was a German national named Carsten L., and that his home and workplace, and that of one other person, had been searched.

In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, the BND said that the employee had been placed in custody and that searches at two BND offices had been carried out.

"After the BND became aware of a possible case of treason within its own ranks in the course of its intelligence work, the BND immediately launched extensive internal investigations," BND President Bruno Kahl said in the statement. "When these substantiated the suspicion, the Federal Attorney General was immediately called in."

Kahl added that the BND was working closely with investigators but would not be releasing any further details.

"Restraint and discretion are very important in this particular case," he added. "With Russia, we are dealing with an actor on the opposite side whose unscrupulousness and willingness to use violence we must reckon with. Every detail of this operation that becomes public means an advantage for this adversary in its intention to harm Germany."

This is the first time that a BND employee has been arrested for suspected treason since 2014, when a spy named Markus R. was accused of leaking information to US intelligence agencies. He was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to eight years in prison.

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Benjamin Knight Kommentarbild PROVISORISCH
Ben Knight Ben Knight is a journalist in Berlin who mainly writes about German politics.@BenWernerKnight