Dhe Russian attack on Ukraine took German politics by surprise. Federal President Walter Steinmeier spoke of the “misjudgment that we, and I too, thought that even a Putin of the year 2022 would not ultimately accept the total political, economic, moral ruin of the country for his imperial dreams or his imperial madness”. .
People have gotten so used to the many reports about what was not thought possible before February 24 that Bruno Kahl, President of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), surprised the most on Monday with the message that his authority was not so surprised by the attack.
That Russian President Vladimir Putin, as before in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, Crimea and Donbass, the BND has always pointed out that it would use violence to achieve its political goals, Kahl said in the public hearing of the presidents of the intelligence services before the parliamentary control committee.
Suppression of “real threats”
“What we see as the result of professional intelligence work has shaken up large parts of the German population, since it has unfortunately become common practice in public discourse over the past few decades to repeatedly ignore and suppress real threats – and corresponding warnings from the security authorities as scaremongering and Get rid of pomposity,” said Kahl. Several MPs followed up: Didn’t the federal government listen to the BND well enough? Kahl did not specify this further, nor did he raise any allegations against individuals.
In order to avoid being caught off guard again, MPs asked about dangers that politicians and the public are not sufficiently aware of today. This includes an “autocratic China rising to become a global power,” said Kahl. This view is also shared by the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang: In addition to Russia, China is a key player that needs to be monitored, he said.
Partner services keep saying: “Russia is the storm, China is climate change.” You will have to adapt to this climate change. Martina Rosenberg, President of the Military Counterintelligence Service, also spoke of China’s intelligence activities against the Bundeswehr “at a high level”.
prevent Chinese influence
BND President Kahl said that China is not afraid to use economic leverage and technical possibilities to assert its interests. Haldenwang warned that no situation should arise in which China could “influence political events in Germany” via infrastructure.
In the hearing three years ago, Kahl warned against entrusting the Chinese company Huawei with building the German 5G network. This has not faded away, but played a role in the discussion about the IT Security Act. The possibility is provided there to prohibit the use of critical components if this is likely to impair public order or security in Germany.
On Monday, Kahl also spoke of China’s attempts to use cyber attacks to obtain know-how from science and industry in Germany in order to achieve its goal of becoming a technological world power by 2049 – when the People’s Republic will celebrate its centenary.