A senior MP in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) party has warned the 2017 German election is at risk from “outside manipulation”.
“There is a general danger – for the Bundestag 2017 election too – of influence-peddling via targeted infiltration from outside, with the goal of manipulating facts or opinions,” Wolfgang Bosbach was quoted as saying by the German daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger. He was commenting on the US row about alleged Russian manipulation of the US presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.
As reported by the BBC, Russia was blamed for a cyberattack on the German parliament last year. An unnamed German security official said it was “highly likely” that secret files published by Wikileaks two weeks ago originated from that cyberattack.
The files (dating from early 2014 to January 2015) came from the parliamentary lower house (Bundestag) committee investigating US National Security Agency (NSA) spying on German politicians.
This is why Bosbach is not alone. The foreign affairs spokesman of the Social Democrats (SPD), Rolf Muetzenich, echoed that warning, saying “unfortunately we cannot exclude such activities in Germany, either”.
“In the election campaign we’ll also have to confront distortions and fake stories.”
Stephan Mayer, home affairs spokesman of the conservative CSU (allied to the CDU), said “there is a big danger that hacker attacks on parties and factions, and disinformation campaigns will increase. We must grapple with this urgently and arm ourselves with appropriate laws.”
Last week the head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, said: “We detect increasingly aggressive cyber-espionage. The indications of attempts to influence the German parliamentary elections next year are intensifying.”