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Seehofer pledges clarity on data breach

January 6, 2019

The interior minister will meet police and cyberdefense chiefs to seek clarity on the data breach. The Social Democrats, partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition, are demanding answers following the attack.

Horst Seehofer
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Kneffel

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has pledged to provide clarity on a massive data breach that has shaken Germany's political establishment.

Seehofer told Süddeutsche Zeitung that he would meet the heads of the Criminal Police Office (BKA) and cyberdefense agency (BSI) again on Monday to find out what they knew about the cyberattack and how they dealt with it.

The interior minister said he would share his findings with the public by the middle of the next week at the latest.

"The public will know everything I know," Seehofer said.

The security breach — 
one of Germany's biggest cyberattacks— saw personal data and documents from Chancellor Angela Merkel and hundreds of other politicians and public figures published online.

The interior committee of the German parliament's lower house, the Bundestag, will also meet for a special session on Thursday to discuss the breach.

Read more: Six hack attacks that shook the world

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SPD demands answers

Merkel's junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), demanded on Sunday that the government provide more clarity on the data breach.

Lars Klingbeil, the general secretary of the party, told the Funke media group that the government must quickly shed light on "which agencies knew what exactly when, and how that was dealt with".

"This should be a priority for Horst Seehofer. It's about protecting our democracy," Klingbeil said.

Cyberdefense agency under fire

Political parties have criticized the BSI for its handling of the data breach.

The BSI clarified that it only became aware  of the full extent of this week's breach on Saturday — a day after BSI chief Arne Schönbohm said the agency had known about isolated breaches in early December.

The Greens' parliamentary leader, Anton Hofreiter, demanded that Schönbohm explain himself urgently to an extraordinary parliamentary committee meeting.

The deputy leader of the Free Democrats (FDP), Wolfgang Kubicki, suggested that Schönbohm should quit.

"A president who first says he's known about the breach since the beginning of December and then backtracks to say he's only known about it since January 3 must ask himself if he's the right man for the job," he said.

ap/amp (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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