Though US officials continue to downplay the story, spy scandal after spy scandal in Germany is taking its toil on bilateral relations, and some are saying that this is now the most tense relations have been during the post-war era.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that the spying is unacceptable, but the real story is that she doesn’t believe that, even if the US says they will stop, they actually will.
Expelling the senior CIA representative from Berlin was a big move, but analysts say it is likely only the beginning, as Germany moves into large-scale efforts to root out US spies wherever they can be found.
It’s not just a diplomatic issue in Germany, but potentially a political one, as the nation’s voters are extremely suspicious of government surveillance, whether foreign or domestic, and have been extremely skeptical of the Merkel government’s past moves on US spying, seeing the government as largely complicit in the US surveillance state.
That puts pressure on the Merkel government to act more seriously in the probe of US spying, though it may also convince the State Department that German government interest in the probe is only skin deep, and so long as they can make enough of a show to placate voters, the crackdown likely won’t interfere with overall US surveillance.