German double agent’s ‘courier’ arrested for ‘passing information to Russia’
German authorities have arrested a man who they said acted as a courier for a double agent and handed secret intelligence to Russia.
The suspect, identified only as Arthur E in line with Germany’s strict privacy laws, was arrested at Munich Airport last Sunday after he arrived on a flight from the US.
German prosecutors said that he brought documents to Russia which had been given to him by Carsten L, the alleged double agent whose arrest last December marked the beginning of one of Germany’s most high-profile spy scandals in decades.
The discovery of the alleged double agent at the heart of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency shook the world of Western espionage, raising fears over intelligence co-operation between Ukraine’s Western allies.
Arthur E is described as “an acquaintance” of Carsten L, a senior agent in the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, who was arrested on suspicion of treason shortly before Christmas.
While also arrested on suspicion of treason, Arthur E is not an employee of the BND.
The FBI is said to have played a key role in the investigation that led to his arrest.
Berlin ‘alarmed’ by scandal
Carsten L was the head of a division inside the BND’s signal intelligence wing, which is responsible for spying on enemy communications.
Germany believes that he was responsible for passing on highly sensitive battlefield information from the Ukraine war to the Russians.
Berlin has previously described the case as “alarming”.
The information that led to his arrest is said to have come from a tip-off from a foreign intelligence agency, which discovered a BND document when sifting through data they had obtained from inside a Russian spy service.
Carsten L’s level of seniority meant that he had access to intelligence reports from partner agencies, including GCHQ and the US National Security Agency, leading to fears that the information he is alleged to have passed on could have compromised the work of other intelligence services.
Blackmail rumours swirl around case
German authorities are being extremely secretive about the investigation against Carsten L, fearing that any details that leak to the press could give the Russians clues as to what they know about his work.
Rumours in Berlin suggest that he may have been the victim of blackmail, with Russian spies using information gleaned about his private life to pressure him into passing on secrets.
An investigation by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper suggested that he had taken no money for his activities.
It also reported that weeks before his arrest, he had been moved to a position in a unit which is tasked with rooting out double agents inside the agency.