Germany is alarmed that Russia may seek to interfere in its national elections next year, the domestic intelligence chief said, echoing concerns raised in the United States before Donald Trump’s presidential election victory.
- German officials have accused Moscow of trying to manipulate German media to fan popular angst
- The angst is over issues like the migrant crisis, weakening voter trust in moderate mainstream government under Chancellor Angela Merkel and breeding divisions within the European Union so that it drops sanctions against Moscow.
- Intelligence officials have also pointed to Russian support for eurosceptic, anti-immigrant parties in Germany and across the EU.
- Last week, Merkel said she could not rule out Russia interfering in Germany’s 2017 election through Internet attacks and misinformation campaigns.
(TRUNEWS) Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the domestic BfV intelligence agency, cited the high-profile case last year of a German-Russian girl who Russian media said was kidnapped and raped by migrants in Berlin, a claim later refuted by German authorities.
“This could happen again next year and we are alarmed,” Maassen told Reuters in an interview late on Tuesday. “We have the impression that this is part of a hybrid threat that seeks to influence public opinion and decision-making processes.”
He said it was important to publicly expose such campaigns. “When people realize that the information that they are getting is not true…, then the toxic lies lose their effectiveness.”
There was no immediate response from the Kremlin to a written request for comment on Maassen’s remarks.
France’s intelligence service has also warned of possible Russian intervention in its spring 2017 election campaign.
Russian officials have denied all accusations of manipulation and interference intended to weaken the EU.
News by Reuters