CIA Mole May Have Endangered 1000s of German Spies

American double agent likely sold list of 3,500 German spies around the world - as US continues to hold Jonathan Pollard for spying.

Ari Yashar ,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

New revelations have exposed that a CIA double agent arrested last summer may have sold a list of the identities of 3,500 German spies around the world - in a case of American spying made poignant by the fact that Jonathan Pollard (60) is now in his 30th year behind American bars, on charges of spying for Israel.

According to the British The Telegraph, the American double agent identified as Markus R obtained and likely sold a list of the real names, aliases and locations of 3,500 German intelligence officers posted world-wide, as reported by Bild.

German intelligence sources have claimed the list was out of date and had less than 3,500 names according to the DPA news agency, in an attempt to downplay the damage. The list is said to date from 2011.

Markus R worked in the German spy agency BND, where he was employed in the overseas operations department's registry section. Using his post, he was able to get his hands on top secret documents that divulged the identities of operatives abroad.

Those operatives include under cover spies posing as diplomats in various embassies, as well as those secretly embedded in countries where the German army is operating such as Afghanistan.

After being arrested last summer Markus R reportedly confessed to transferring over 200 secret documents to the CIA during a period of two years, receiving 25,000 euros (almost $29,500) in return.

However, prosecutors now believe the double agent was recruited by the CIA in 2010, a year-and-a-half earlier than he said, and passed secrets for four years receiving 75,000 euros (over $88,000), reports Spiegel.

The CIA wasn't his only client either; Markus R was busted after sending an e-mail to the Russian Embassy in Berlin offering to sell secrets to Russia.

Germany was stunned when he confessed to spying for the US, after they had asked the CIA for help in unmasking the double agent who they thought was Russian, and who turned out to be from the CIA. The CIA refused to help - which in retrospect was due to the fact that he was their spy.

Ties between the US and Germany were already at a low when the double agent was busted, after it was discovered that the American National Security Agency (NSA) spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone calls.

That revelation led Germany to order the surveillance of American and Britain intelligence gathering on German soil for the first time since 1945, and to ask the CIA station chief to leave the country.