The head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has also warned of an increased risk of sabotage
President of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Thomas Haldenwang. © Getty Images / Christian Marquardt
Germany is being spied on at least as much as during the Cold War, the head of the country’s domestic intelligence agency has claimed. He put the growing level of espionage down to souring relations between the West and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
Thomas Haldenwang, the president of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), made the warning on Thursday during a conference in Berlin.
According to local media, the official said that “today, we assess the level of espionage against Germany at least on a par with the Cold War – if not significantly higher.”
Haldenwang also spoke of an increased risk of sabotage in the country, as relations between Berlin and Moscow have deteriorated dramatically since Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine.
The BfV chief predicted that “in a world of open hostilities and drastic sanctions, the inhibition threshold for espionage, sabotage and illegitimate influence will continue to fall.” According to Germany’s Tagesspiegel newspaper, Haldenwang also claimed there’s a new “system competition” emerging between democracies and authoritarian states.