German Cybersecurity Chief Faces Sacking Over Possible Russia Ties

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser could dismiss Arne Schoenbohm, president of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) due to possible contact with Russian security agents, German media reported on Sunday, October 9, 2022, citing government sources.

As a founder of the Cyber Security Council of Germany, an industrial consortium, Schoenbohm is alleged to have had contacts with people from one of the association’s members, a German subsidiary of a Russian cybersecurity firm founded by a former KGB employee.

According to Alexander Luck, an independent political scientist focusing on trans-Atlantic security, this member could be Protelion, a Berlin-based company that was doing business as Infotecs Gmbh until March 2022.

According to the Policy Network Analytics research network, Protelion née Infotecs was a subsidiary of the Russian firm, operated by a former member of the KGB.

German broadcaster DW quoted the Interior Ministry as saying, “It is being examined how a rapid change of president can be achieved.”

German authorities are reportedly hoping to assign Schoenbohm a new role rather than remove him outright, as provisions of the civil service law place limitations on the firing of state employees.

Neither Schoenbohm, the Interior Ministry nor the BSI replied to German media requests for comment at the time of writing, and a joint appearance of Faeser and Schoenbohm scheduled for Thursday to present the BSI Situation Report 2022 has reportedly been called off.

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