Germany’s cybersecurity chief fired following reports of alleged Russian ties
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BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s top security official on Friday fired a head of her agency overseeing the country’s computer networks in light of allegations that security weaknesses had allowed hackers to access some private email accounts.
Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the ZDF national television network that he had had “serious doubts” about the work of his department’s security chief and that, “from the point of view of our country’s security, this cannot continue”.
De Maiziere did not give details of the allegations or provide other details of how those in charge of Germany’s cyber-security system had allowed hackers to penetrate the email accounts of German people. He said he would ask for an external review of the agency, but did not say what that review might look like.
De Maiziere, who has been a minister without portfolio since September, said the head of the Federal Office for Information Security had “made a grave error, a total error, in the way the Federal Agency for Information Security (BSI) is working”.
“In particular, BSI Director Heidemarie Wieczorek had not followed up on previous information she had received and had not been able to answer questions about it,” he said.
“We do not know what exactly was found,” he said, adding that an external review would be undertaken for a period of up to 18 months.
He said that the agency was in danger of becoming “more and more” of a political decision-making body, as decisions would be made by a small group of technocrats with little to no oversight by the government.
In a statement, de Maiziere said he had been clear from the start with the