US says talking to Germany over spy row, but won't give details

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States has had legal and political contacts with Germany over resolving a new spying row, but on Tuesday still refused to discuss reports an arrested German man was a CIA double agent.

As calls mounted in Germany for reprisals by Chancellor Angela Merkel in the latest espionage drama to rattle the allies, the White House would not say how it would follow through on its promise to fix the spat.

"We are committed to resolving the situation appropriately," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, again paying tribute to the productive and vital alliance between Washington and Berlin.

"There have been some communications in both law enforcement and diplomatic channels to begin to resolve this issue.It is our desire to resolve those concerns that have arisen from those reports I'm not in a position to talk about," he said, declining as is the usual practice to talk about intelligence issues.

German politicians, including Dr Merkel, reacted angrily to reports that a 31-year-old German man arrested last week by intelligence operatives had passed information to the CIA about a German parliamentary probe into disclosures by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden.

Reports based on Mr Snowden's claims that the National Security Agency (NSA) tapped Merkel's phone severely disrupted US-German relations last year.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.