Friday, December 9

The head of the German Department of Information Security, Arne Schönbohm, during the Innovation Conference on the Design of Digital Life in Munich, Germany, in 2018.

The head of Germany’s federal cybersecurity agency, Arne Schönbohm, was dismissed on Tuesday, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, a few weeks after his alleged closeness to the Russian espionage environment came to light.

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Schönbohm, in office since 2016, was on the tightrope for having been a founding member of the so-called German Cybersecurity Council, which, according to journalistic revelations, was linked to the Russian secret services. The controversy over her relationship with this organization has been revived since a few days ago the popular presenter Jan Böhmermann spoke about her during his comedy and political satire program Magazin Royale.

And the issue took on a new dimension in the midst of the alarm raised by successive sabotage of energy infrastructure, such as the German-Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2, and as well as the German railway network.

A spokesman for the Interior confirmed the decision of the minister, Nancy Faeser, which will be applied with immediate effect, after several media outlets, such as Der Spiegel, will advance the news. “The necessary public trust in the neutrality and impartiality of his leadership as chairman of Germany’s top cybersecurity agency has been damaged,” the spokesman said.

Under suspicion since 2019

A company called Protelion was integrated into the controversial Cybersecurity Council, which until last March was known as Infotechsa subsidiary of a Russian company founded by a former KGB employee, reports Guardian. “The Russian company Infotecs that wants to protect our critical infrastructure from Russian cyberattacks works with Russian intelligence services,” Böhmermann said on his show, expressing his disbelief. “Russian agents use Infotecs, which under the name of Protelion GmbH sells security software to German companies.”

The links between the two companies, German and Russian, had come to light in a journalistic investigation in 2019. The issue affected Schönbohm’s credibility at the time, but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s then government between conservatives and social democrats kept him in his position. .

Schönbohm, the son of a prominent regional Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician, Jörg Schönbohm, was appointed to the post in 2016 by then Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.

With information from TheGuardian.