On Thursday afternoon in the Bundestag, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) described the criticism from the Union of its dealings with former BSI President Arne Schönbohm as “theatrical thunder”. “I understand that in the coming weeks you will do everything you can to throw dirt at me,” said Faeser. “And unlike you, ladies and gentlemen from the Union, cybersecurity is important to me in this country.” She has strengthened the BSI and will continue to do so. “This required a reorganization at the top.”
Faeser emphasized that Schönbohm had requested disciplinary proceedings against himself. This review by the ministry had to be carried out carefully. “No intelligence measures were used against Mr. Schönbohm. This claim is complete nonsense,” defended Faeser. “Leave it to the CDU in Hesse to conduct the election campaign.”
“Gross contempt for Parliament”
Faeser did not allow an interim question. The CDU domestic politician Christoph de Vries then spoke up for a so-called short intervention after the speech: Faeser’s absence from the Interior Committee and her further behavior was a “gross disregard for parliament”; It is solely up to her to dispel the allegations. Her behavior towards Schönbohm should be criticized politically and personally. Relieving a senior civil servant of his duties, refusing to allow him to speak publicly and refusing to initiate disciplinary proceedings is highly indecent. “In our view, you have breached your duty of care.” De Vries accused her of ordering Schönbohm to be re-examined by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution after the process was completed in the ministry: “From our point of view, this is an instrumentalization of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution that is unprecedented in Germany.” Faeser then replied: “There were no intelligence inquiries from me.”
“It’s nice that you’re here,” said Alexander Throm from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, welcoming the minister. They are trying everything “to justify a wrong decision on your part afterwards.” What Faeser has now said is also in contradiction to what her house has said so far: State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter confirmed a query to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution that morning.
“Today you pointed out for the first time that there were technical reasons for removing Mr. Schönbohm,” Alexander Throm (CDU) replied to the minister. The normal parliamentary resources have been exhausted, there is no need for further special sessions that the minister does not come to. There would of course be the possibility of a committee of inquiry. But he wanted to make an offer: “Request a special meeting in which you can attend in person and answer our questions.”
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