Thousands of German spies posted around the world could be at risk after it emerged that a double agent unmasked last summer stole a list of their real identities and may have sold it.
The double agent, who has been identified only as Markus R under strict German privacy laws, obtained a top secret list of the real names, aliases and locations of 3,500 German intelligence officers posted abroad, according to a report in Bild newspaper.
But German intelligence sources sought to downplay the incident, briefing that the list in question was out of date and contained far fewer than 3,500 names, the DPA news agency reported.
The arrest of Markus R last summer caused a major diplomatic rift between Germany and the US, after it emerged he had acted as a double agent for the CIA.
He had also approached Russian intelligence and offered to sell them secret information, and there are fears he may have passed the list of German spies’ names to a hostile foreign agency.
It was reported earlier this week that prosecutors now believe the case of Markus R is more serious than previously thought.
He was discovered after an email he sent the Russian Embassy in Berlin offering to sell secrets in exchange for cash was intercepted, and German investigators were stunned when he confessed he had been spying for the Americans.
Prosecutors now believe he was recruited by the CIA a year and a half earlier than he has admitted, in 2010, and was paid €75,000 for passing secrets over a period of four years, according to Spiegel magazine.
Source: The Telegraph