Mystery Again Surrounds Bundestag’s NSA Committee of Inquiry (Die Welt, Germany)
Chairman of the Bundestag’s NSA Committee of Inquiry Patrick Sensburg has led Berlin’s almost two-year long probe into the scandal exposed by Edward Snowden surrounding NSA mass surveillance. Last year Sensburg reportedly ordered music to be played at committee meetings ‘just in case’ and at least two moles were discovered passing information from the Committee to U.S. spies. Now, according to Germany’s Die Welt, Sensburg’s state-issued encrypted cell phone appears to have been hacked, although the culprits have yet to be identified.
For Die Welt, reporter Manuel Bewarder writes in part:
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The Bundestag Committee investigating the NSA spying scandal may itself have been spied on. According to information obtained by Die Welt, there are suspicions that the so-called encrypted phone of Committee Chairman Patrick Sensburg may have been hacked. The device is therefore to be examined by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in Bonn. The CDU politician is for the moment unwilling to comment.
An ominous course of events forms the backdrop of these suspicions. In February, the Committee Chairman Sensburg is said to have noticed a malfunction in his Blackberry Z30. The Bundestag’s administrative division then sent the device to Bonn in a sealed container for analysis by the BSI through the shipping firm DHL [a German firm]. It was the first time transport was arranged this way.
In response to inquiries by Die Welt, the Bundestag confirmed the facts surrounding the situation. The lead-sealed shipping container was opened upon arrival at its destination. According to Die Welt’s sources, the device had obviously been taken out of the container before being delivered. The Bundestag’s administrative division says that a complaint that the package had been broken into has been filed against “persons unknown.”
The BSI is now trying to ascertain if the device had been accessed. A detailed analysis will take several weeks. What’s behind all this remains completely unknown. Therefore, any involvement by an intelligence service can only be a matter of conjecture. Neither the federal government nor the BSI wished to comment.”
Patrick Sensburg is quite an interesting target for spies as he regularly deals with highly calssified documents. The investigative committee he presides over is trying – in the course of the revelations of U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden – to elucidate possible violations by intelligence services at home and abroad. This week, committee members will be hearing testimony by a former section chief of the Bundesnachrichtendienst [The Federal Intelligence Service or BND.]
The security measures surrounding the committee are high, which is why committee chairmen and section chiefs were given encrypted telephones in the first place and safes were installed in representatives’ offices. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution urged committee members to use their encrypted phones more frequently and exercise more discipline in their communications. Security officials had early on warned committee members that they were attractive espionage targets so should expect to be surveilled.
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