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FDP fires 'mole' revealed by Wikileaks

The Local · 3 Dec 2010, 13:14

Published: 03 Dec 2010 08:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Dec 2010 13:14 GMT+01:00

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Helmut Metzner, chief of staff for FDP leader Guido Westerwelle, who is German vice chancellor and foreign minister, was exposed on Thursday evening as the source of leaks from talks in October 2009 on forming a ruling coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

"The staff member of the FDP's federal headquarters, who has admitted his contacts with the US embassy in Berlin, has been relieved of his duties as chief of staff for the FDP chairman by mutual agreement," the party's spokesman said in a terse statement.

Diplomatic cables published this week by Wikileaks showed that an FDP mole at the closed-doors negotiations between the party and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats had given regular updates to a US embassy contact.

In the documents, Philip Murphy, the US ambassador in Berlin, describes the fly on the wall as a "young, up-and-coming party loyalist" who was taking notes during the marathon talks.

On Friday, FDP MP Hans Michael Goldmann told the daily Bild that Murphy could no longer serve as an effective liaison between Berlin and Washington.

"Mr. Murphy's behaviour is unseemly," Goldmann said. "Such an ambassador should be called home."

Another FDP deputy, Bijan Djir-Sarai, echoed the sentiment: "It is more than doubtful whether Mr Murphy can still be a trustworthy interlocutor."

However Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said Berlin would continue to work with Murphy.

"The government is most certainly not calling for the ambassador to be recalled. It is focused on the many tasks that it shares with America, in terms of the global economy, Afghanistan, the G8-G20 process, cooperation in NATO," he told a regular briefing. "German-US ties are robust."

Among the indiscretions by the FDP's Metzner were a blow-by-blow account of an internal row over disarmament.

Westerwelle had pushed to have the new government demand the United States remove its nuclear weapons from German soil but Merkel dismissed his call as pointless without a broad-based international initiative.

The source is later quoted as describing veteran conservative Wolfgang Schäuble, the current finance minister as "neurotic" and "an angry old man," before handing over several copies of documents from the negotiations.

The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that despite the revelations, Metzner, 41, would continue to work for the party.

Story continues below…

On Monday, Westerwelle told reporters he did not believe his party had a spy in its ranks.

"I don't believe such stories," he said, adding that he "still had quite strong faith in the entire staff of the FDP, and particularly those who were present at the coalition talks."

Westerwelle comes in for harsh criticism in the secret documents published by Wikileaks, derided by US diplomats as incompetent, vain and critical of America.

AFP/The Local/ka/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:01 December 3, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
This is just so damned funny! I wonder what inspired his reports to the Americans?
09:52 December 3, 2010 by chicagolive
Nothing funny about it he was just removed from his position, but their are people in other countries that we are already getting reports have went missing or have been targeted with threats. This Wikileak was just stupid plan and simple, it serves no purpose other then embarrassing the US by revealings what diplomats say behind the doors but if sat in front would cause alot of strife between parties, this is why in my thinking I believe this has nothing to do with the truth but egotistical people pushing their own agenda. The last leak one was great and was rightfully released for showing what is going on in Iraq and how many of us behind the scenes really felt about that conflict.
12:41 December 3, 2010 by locry
@ chicagolive

and what reports these would be?

The only clear reports so far have shown that the US government have behaved inappropriately in at least several cases (above and the Gripen fighter case). They have clearly acted behind the backs or against the best interest of their allies.
14:41 December 3, 2010 by sonriete
How ironic that the whistleblower website caused the firing of the whistleblower inside the FPD.

At the end of the day what he was doing was quite similar to what they do.
15:18 December 3, 2010 by hanskarl
"The only clear reports so far have shown that the US government have behaved inappropriately in at least several cases (above and the Gripen fighter case). They have clearly acted behind the backs or against the best interest of their allies. "

Please, one must be utterly daft if one thinks other countries are puritanical in their approach to international politics. Assange didn't attack the world, he attacked the USA, the fool. He is nothing more than a wolf in sheeps clothing. All of these other incidents are fallout and unfortunately Julius didn't take into account the diatribes and deaths that might occur from such poor decision making.

"Oh, I am doing this to expose world corruption." False and Duh, as if we were not aware.
19:06 December 3, 2010 by Landmine
Why surprised? Spies come in all shapes, sizes and denominations....
05:42 December 4, 2010 by anangryman.com
This just goes to show you that the governments that wants you to believe in blindly are nothing more than terrorists themselves, passing an agenda that is leading everyone into a 1 world order, as this happens your lifestyle will be compromised for the sake of profit and greed of the self proclaimed eliteists, they view you as $ signs nothing more.
12:15 December 4, 2010 by wood artist
While specifics about who might be sharing information are "new" the idea that ambassadors report on things they hear and their observations about leaders in the countries where they are stationed should surprise no one. That's what they're there for in the first place.

Ambassadors serve as the eyes and ears of a country, reporting on what is going on, and representing their own country along the way. In the old days they were very independent, especially when letters might take weeks to travel across the ocean. They were given general directions and then allowed to think for themselves.

There's certainly no surprise that they report their sense of how foreign leaders work, their fears, strengths, and perceived weaknesses.

In this case, obviously, someone was willing to share more intimate information. Does this rise to the level of "spying?" It's hard to say, especially if the "mole" wasn't recruited or paid.

In any case, we all express opinions about others amongst our intimates, and often those opinions might be less than flattering. Would we say the same things in public, or to their face? Probably not, but only because it serves no purpose. I can disagree with someone professionally, while privately thinking they are a complete idiot. That's called tact, a trait we expect from leaders and diplomats.

Wikileaks might have caused a great deal of upset with this latest round of stolen files, but I don't think we should be all that surprised by what's in them. I also think nothing positive was accomplished by disclosing them.

16:16 December 5, 2010 by Beca
Do you know?? what really surprise me about the politicians, it is that they are unable to deal with the TRUTH. That´s is a proven fact.!

They "Politicians" have ben operating for so long with the hypocracies, lies and leaking asses that they cant stand when is about to face the truth of facts and face their consecuences. Interesting , ah? And If Westerwelle has been named by the secret documents published by Wikileaks, derided by US diplomats as " incompetent, vain and critical of America." THAT`s , It is true... that is not a secret for nobody, not even for him... and everybody around the owrld think the same but I guess to face his own ego is a high task that is not willing or able to manage...

Why Politicians are NOT able to deal with the truth...???
05:54 December 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Because politics and truth are irreconcilable.
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