Why does the US consider it necessary to spy against Germany, supposedly one of its closest allies?The Telegraph's defence editor Con Coughlin gives a compelling answer:
We know, thanks to the treacherous activities of Edward Snowden, that America's NSA spy network regularly listened into the mobile phone conversations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But that is small fry compared to the allegations now being made against the CIA, which is now accused of running two high-ranking agents at the heart of the Germany's security establishment.
And finding out what tactics the German football team might use in Sunday night's World Cup final is not what is on the spooks' agenda.
The reason I believe the CIA has agents working for the German defence ministry and intelligence service is that Washington – and indeed London – feel that, despite the fact Germany is supposed to be a leading member of the Western alliance, the Germans are not entirely trustworthy.
You only have to look at how the Germans responded to the recent crisis over Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea to see that Berlin is not always playing on the same side as the rest of us.
While other leading Western powers such as America and Britain were urging tough action against the Kremlin to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to back down – a policy that appears to have worked, by the way – Mrs Merkel seemed more interested in protecting Germany's business interests with Russia.
Nor is this the first time that Berlin has pulled in a different direction from the rest of the Western alliance. During the Libyan conflict three years ago the Germans sided with Moscow in opposing military action against Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and actively sought to undermine the Nato mission be refusing to provide vital air tankers to refuel Nato warplanes.
When it comes to the crunch, the Germans are far from being reliable allies, and understanding what the Germans are really up to is vital when it comes to making our own decisions about how to respond to global threats to our security, whether it is Mr Putin's military adventurism or Iran's obsession with building atom bombs.