Spain has expelled two American embassy diplomats accused of infiltrating the Spanish intelligence agency (CNI) through alleged bribing local officers, a report says.
Citing unnamed government sources, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Thursday that the pair, whom the daily did not identify by name or post, were quietly kicked out of Spain at Madrid’s request after an investigation revealed that two Spanish intelligence officers gave information for “a large sum of money.”
“At least two US agents stationed at the US Embassy in Madrid, who were directly involved in the recruitment of CNI spies, have been discreetly expelled from Spain,” the paper said, describing only one of the local officers as being a “middle-ranking member of CNI.”
According to the report, which received no immediate confirmation from either country, more than two American “spies” might have been involved in the case, which is sought to be kept secret by a court order.
Two CNI officers, a chief of area and his assistant, were arrested two months ago after they were noticed accessing classified information that was not part of their remit, El Pais said, adding that the two officers had purportedly been recruited by the two spies based at the US embassy.
Both Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles and Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares had separately spoken to US Ambassador Julissa Reynoso to ask for an explanation, El Pais further said.
The daily went on to say that after Reynoso was summoned, she said she knew nothing of the case and apologized.
“It’s a very grave matter, since recruiting secret agents from a host nation to betray their own country is an openly hostile act done with enemy governments, but never with friends or allies,” El Pais said.
Back in September, Russia expelled two American embassy diplomats, first secretary Jeffrey Sillin and second secretary David Bernstein, accused of working with a Russian spy.
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