German triple agent jailed for treason

Markus Reichel appears in courtImage copyright

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Markus Reichel told the court spying for the the CIA offered him “adventure”

A former German intelligence employee has been sentenced to eight years in jail for spying for the US and Russia.

Markus Reichel admitted handing over more than 200 documents over four years to the CIA in exchange for at least €80,000 (£63,000, $90,000).

The court in Munich heard that these included the real and cover names and addresses of German agents abroad.

The 32-year-old was also found guilty of treason for giving three documents to the Russian secret service.

Reichel had been employed at the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) since 2007, working in the mail room where he had access to classified documents.

He also had clearance to handle top secret information, the Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung paper reports.

‘No-one trusted me’

During his trial, which began in November, Reichel said that he had handed over the intelligence not only for the thrill and adventure of it, but also for the recognition.

“No-one trusted me with anything at the BND. At the CIA it was different,” he told the court.

“I would be lying if I said that I didn’t like that.”

How Markus Reichel spied for the CIA:

  • Undercover name Uwe
  • Photocopied secret documents to send to US agent codenamed Alex
  • Delivered them by post, then email and later into hidden software on a notebook provided by the CIA
  • He used to provide almost weekly updates
  • Received money in cash from a handler during meetings in Salzburg and other Austrian cities

His department was responsible for the protection of soldiers serving abroad, according to the Reuters news agency.

Between 2008 and 2014, he received between €10,000-20,000 a year in cash for the secrets he shared at secret meeting points in Austria.

Reichel used to copy sensitive documents at work, smuggle them home where he scanned them and sent them on to his handler, the AFP news agency reports.

After several years of doing this, he itched to “experience something new” and offered his services to the Russian consulate in Munich, the agency says.

But his email to the Russians, with classified documents attached, was intercepted and this led to him being uncovered.

In his closing remarks in court, Reichel apologised and asked for forgiveness, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports.

His arrest in 2014 came in the wake of strained relations between the US and Germany after leaks by former CIA agent Edward Snowden revealed the extent of US spying activities in Germany.

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