Diplomatic relations between Germany and the US plunged to a new low after Angela Merkel's government asked the top representative of America's secret services in Germany to leave the country.
While not formally amounting to a full expulsion, the move nonetheless sends a dramatic signal: after a year-long dispute triggered by the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Merkel seems to have finally run out of patience with Washington's failure to explain itself.
According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the US embassy staffer who has been asked to leave is a CIA "chief of station" who coordinates secret service activity in Germany, and who emerged as the key contact for two German officials recently arrested for allegedly spying for the US.
According to German media reports, such drastic action had previously only been thinkable when dealing with "pariah states like North Korea or Iran".
The officials arrested for spying for the U.S. - they were gathering information on Germany's investigation into the NSA spying and wiretapping.
Now, how much of this is the U.S. infiltrating the intelligence agency (BND) and how much is it really the BND cooperating with a fellow spy agency?