It's another Berlin spy story, again involving President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Less than a year after Merkel protested U.S. National Security Agency surveillance in Germany – including her own cellphone – she and President Obama must now deal with the arrest of a German man accused of passing secrets to Americans for pay.
"If the allegations are true, it would be for me a clear contradiction as to what I consider to be trusting cooperation between agencies and partners," Merkel told reporters Monday while traveling in China.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he is not in a position to comment on the ongoing case in Germany, but he added that the United States-Germany relationship "is incredibly important" to Obama and his team.
"We're going to work the Germans to resolve the situation," Earnest said.
German officials said a 31-year-old man – reportedly an employee of Germany's foreign intelligence service – is accused of selling government documents to the Americans between 2012 and 2014.
As with most spy stories, there are different versions about what might have happened, or might not have happened.
German media outlets, citing unidentified sources, are reporting that some documents dealt with the German parliament's investigation of previous NSA activities in its country, a probe based on the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The head of that inquiry, Patrick Sensburg, told German public radio this weekend that, "at this time, I can say that I don't have any information that the NSA committee's own documents were spied on."
The Snowden documents generated the initial news reports about NSA activity in Germany, including surveillance of Merkel's cellphone.
Merkel, who complained to Obama, was one of a number of foreign leaders reportedly targeted by the NSA. Others included Brazil President Dilma Rousseff – who canceled a state visit to the U.S. over the surveillance issue and Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto.
In January, American officials announced new policies that would keep foreign leaders off-limits.
In a speech on the new policies, Obama said that "the leaders of our close friends and allies deserve to know that if I want to know what they think about an issue, I'll pick up the phone and call them, rather than turning to surveillance."
The current allegations do not implicate Merkel herself, but do involve her government.
Obama and Merkel spoke by phone Thursday about violence in Ukraine, but the topic of surveillance did not come up because news of the arrest had not yet surfaced, officials said.
At the White House, Earnest said the United States and Germany have "a very close partnership" on an array of matters, including intelligence activities.
"That partnership is built on respect, and it's built on decades of cooperation and shared values," Earnest said.