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German Accused of Passing Secrets, and Fingers Point at U.S.

In the latest turn in the yearlong tensions with Germany over American spying, a 31-year-old German man was arrested this week on suspicion of passing secret documents to a foreign power that appeared to be the United States, and the American ambassador was called in to the Foreign Office here and urged to help with what German officials called a "swift clarification" of the case.

The arrest came just as Washington and Berlin were trying to put to rest a year of strains over the National Security Agency's monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone, and just months after an effort by Germany to strike a "no spy" accord with the White House collapsed.

While the White House and American intelligence officials refused to comment on the arrest, one senior American official said that the reports in the German news media that the man under arrest had been working for the United States for at least two years "threaten to undo all the repair work" the two sides have been trying to achieve.

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