The CIA’s European Division has halted its operations in Western Europe in response to several spying scandals in Germany and the continent’s negative reaction to the revelations of spying by the National Security Agency on European leaders and citizens.
The stand-down order has been in effect for two months. It was designed to give CIA officers time to examine whether they were being careful enough and to evaluate whether spying on allies is worth running the risk of discovery, a US official who has been briefed on the situation told the Associated Press.
Case officers in friendly European countries have largely forbidden from undertaking “unilateral operations” such as meeting with sources they have recruited within allied governments. The continent’s countries have long been used as safe venues to conduct meetings between CIA officers and sources from the Middle East and other high priority areas; those encounters have been rerouted to other locales.