German army embarrassed by alleged illegal wiretapping

German army embarrassed by alleged illegal wiretapping

The Bundeswehr announced on Saturday, March 2, that it is investigating suspicions of illegal interception of exchanges between several of its officers about arms shipments to Ukraine, which were broadcast on social networks in Russia and may have very embarrassing content. for Berlin. For Chancellor Olaf Scholz: “This is a very serious matter and is therefore now the subject of a very careful, very thorough and very quick investigation.”

Published on: March 2, 2024 – 1:11 p.m

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“We are checking whether communications with the air force were intercepted; the military counterintelligence agency (BAMAD) has taken all necessary measures,” said a ministry spokesman. German the defense. She was responding to a growing controversy that arose after Friday's broadcast Russia On social media there appears to be a recording of a conversation between high-ranking German officers.

On Friday, the editor-in-chief of Russian state broadcaster RT Margarita Simonyan published a file more than half an hour long. The recording is allegedly an undated video conference from the German Air Force. Officials are discussing various scenarios surrounding Ukraine's possible use of German-made Taurus missiles, particularly with regard to the destruction of the bridge between Crimea and Russia and its possible impact. The Taurus are the German-made long-range missiles that Kiev has been demanding from Berlin for monthsOlaf Scholz has so far refused a delivery to his ally, fearing that Germany would be drawn into the conflict.

A delicate matter for Berlin

If the exchange turns out to be authentic, it would be very embarrassing for Berlin. This espionage affair is doubly sensitive for Berlin. It highlights the gaps in the technical means of communication within the army. And it undermines the coalition divided in Taurus for Ukraine, our correspondent in Berlin reports. Nathalie Versieux.

In the recording, participants also discuss details of deliveries of long-range Scalp missiles by France and Britain to Ukraine. “If this story is true, it would be highly problematic,” the chairman of the Bundestag committee for monitoring the secret services, Konstantin von Notz, told the RND group newspapers.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called for “quick explanations from Germany” on the matter. “Any attempt to evade answering questions will be viewed as an admission of guilt,” she said. For his part, the number two on the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, judged on his Telegram account that “our long-time rivals, the Germans, have once again become our archenemies.” “Look at how detailed the “Chleus” talk about how they hit our territory with long-range missiles, what targets they hit and how they can inflict maximum damage on our homeland,” he said.

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Isolated listening?

For their part, German officials fear that this alleged wiretapping is not an isolated incident. “The question arises as to whether this is an exceptional case or a structural security problem within the Bundeswehr,” added Konstantin von Notz.

Roderich Kiesewetter, defense expert for the main opposition CDU (Conservative) party, estimated that “Russia's conversion was deliberately spread at this very moment with a very specific aim,” namely to nip in the bud the debate in Germany over the supply of Taurus- Rockets to Kiev. “Other conversations were certainly heard and will be broadcast later in the interests of Russia,” he told ZDF.

According to Spiegel, the discussion between German officers started from a video conference on the public WebEx platform and not from a secret internal network, which raises questions about internal security standards in the Bundeswehr.

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