CYBINT/DNINT Mil Intelligence German talks with Ukraine for the Taurus Cruise Missile were leaked by the Russians

Bogeyman 

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A Taurus cruise missile. Russian propagandists have now published an explosive telephone recording from German officers about a possible deployment


A Putin propagandist has published a confidential conversation between high-ranking soldiers in the German Air Force. In the recording, Air Force Chief Ingo Gerhartz (58) talks to three comrades about details of a possible delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine.

The Defense Ministry confirmed the eavesdropping attack on Saturday. “According to our assessment, a conversation within the Air Force was intercepted,” said a spokeswoman. “We cannot currently say with certainty whether changes have been made to the recorded or written version that is circulating on social media.”

An incredible security glitch! Chancellor Olaf Scholz (65, SPD) promised quick clarification. The incident is so dramatic that Scholz intervened from abroad. On the sidelines of his papal visit to the Vatican, the Chancellor spoke of a “very serious matter”.

The military counterintelligence service is investigating. Security politicians are alarmed. And demand clarification in parliament.

In the 30-minute conversation, the soldiers discuss the theoretical possibilities of a Taurus deployment by Ukraine. The question is how the Air Force could support such an operation and whether the Ukrainians could guide the German cruise missiles with a range of 500 kilometers to their target without the participation of the Bundeswehr.

Hahn to BILD: “The air force leadership has clearly come to the conclusion that Ukraine can use the Taurus without German participation. This makes it obvious that the Federal Chancellor justified his Taurus refusal with a misrepresentation.”

This week, Scholz justified his rejection of the Taurus delivery with the involvement of German soldiers in the target control.

Union expert Hahn is now accusing the government of lying: “One wonders whether Pistorius kept the Air Force leadership’s assessment to himself or whether the Chancellor is rejecting a delivery for other unknown reasons. Scholz or Pistorius – one of them doesn’t have to tell the truth.”


The Union now expects clarification personally from the Chancellor as to how “this misrepresentation could have come about.” Hahn: “Scholz must finally explain himself to parliament on the Taurus issue.”

Green security politician Konstantin von Notz (53), head of the intelligence control committee PKGR in the Bundestag, also calls for clarification. “If this story turns out to be true, it would be a highly problematic process,” said Notz to the Editorial Network Germany (RND). “The question arises as to whether this is a one-off event or a structural safety problem. I expect all background information to be clarified immediately.”

▶︎ The chairwoman of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (65, FDP), urges BILD to take better precautions against espionage: “Our naivety must finally come to an end. Cyber attacks, espionage and disinformation have already increased massively. We urgently need to increase our security and counterintelligence because we are obviously vulnerable in this area.”

The meeting therefore took place with the people mentioned. A WebEx video switch was used, not a tap-proof line. The conversation was intended to prepare a detailed Taurus briefing from Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (63, SPD).

 

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Wiretapping scandal in the Bundeswehr: Ministry of Defense confirms authenticity of recordings​



The recording of an alleged conversation between high-ranking German soldiers is causing a stir. The ministry has now confirmed its authenticity.

Update from March 2nd, 3:40 p.m.: The Defense Ministry assumes that an internal conversation between Air Force officers was intercepted. “According to our assessment, a conversation within the Air Force was intercepted. We cannot currently say with certainty whether changes have been made to the recorded or written version that is circulating on social media,” a ministry spokeswoman told the German Press Agency in Berlin on Saturday.

Ministry of Defense confirms wiretapping scandal in the Bundeswehr​

Update from March 2nd, 2:42 p.m.: The audio recording published in Russia from a Bundeswehr meeting on the subject of Taurus cruise missiles is apparently authentic. The Tagesschau now also reported this with reference to the Ministry of Defense. This confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

Update from March 2nd, 1:31 p.m.: After Russian state media published an allegedly intercepted conversation between Bundeswehr officers about the Taurus cruise missile, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced that the incident would be clarified “swiftly.” “What is being reported there is a very serious matter,” said the Chancellor on Saturday during a visit to Rome. “And that is why this is now being clarified very carefully, very intensively and very quickly and that is also necessary.”

Because of the wiretapping scandal: CSU calls for Scholz to appear on the defense committee​

Update from March 2nd, 10:55 a.m.: With regard to the wiretapping allegations from Russia, the Union's defense policy spokesman, Florian Hahn, has demanded that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) explain himself to the Bundestag's Defense Committee. From his point of view, the alleged Air Force conversation underlines that a use of Taurus by the Ukrainians would be possible even without Bundeswehr personnel on site.

“If the recording is real, the Chancellor’s statements from this week are not only inappropriate, but false,” the CSU politician told the German Press Agency. Minister Pistorius was explicitly informed about the Taurus, including its possible uses. “It is therefore hardly conceivable that Scholz knew nothing about this military assessment.” Although he considers forward-looking military planning to be quite normal, clarification is required here. “I expect Chancellor Scholz to speak on this in the Defense Committee.”

Update from March 2nd, 8:25 a.m.: Apparently the recording of the internal Air Force conversation about a possible Taurus delivery to Ukraine is circulating not only in Russian state media, but also in the Bundeswehr. Several soldiers confirmed that the material was authentic, the Welt newspaper reported. The conversation was conducted using the Webex video conferencing software. Concerned reactions have already come from German politics .

Audio recording of an internal Luftwaffe conversation surfaced: apparently authentic​

Update from March 2nd, 7 a.m.: The Russian news agency Ria Nowosti published a 5-minute-long excerpt from the alleged recording of a conversation between German Air Force Chief Ingo Gerhartz and other high-ranking Air Force officers. It deals with technical details and preparations for a possible Taurus delivery. The news magazine Spiegel reported that initial analyzes showed that the recording was authentic. Generation with artificial intelligence is considered unlikely.

Update from March 1st, 9:07 p.m .: The allegations from Russia have consequences: After the allegations from Russian propaganda TV, the German Ministry of Defense has initiated an investigation. It is being checked whether communications in the Air Force area have been intercepted. The ministry confirmed this to the dpa news agency . “The Federal Office for the Military Counterintelligence Service (BAMAD) has initiated all necessary measures,” said a spokeswoman.

Russian media had previously reported on a possible wiretapped conversation. In it, Bundeswehr officers can be heard discussing the theoretical possibilities of using German Taurus missiles on the Crimean bridge. The German ministry initially did not comment on whether the conversation actually took place or whether it was a targeted propaganda campaign by the Kremlin.

Soldiers are said to have discussed the Crimean attack with Taurus: Serious allegations from Russia​

First report : Moscow – On Friday (March 1st) Russia launched a new propaganda attack against Germany. The editor-in-chief of state broadcaster RT and a well-known Kremlin propagandist, Margarita Simonyan, claimed that she had a recording of a conversation between high-ranking German soldiers. The regime of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin is relying on this to once again brand Germany as a “war party”. Former President Dmitri Medvedev even calls for “death” for Germans.

The trigger is a message from Simonjan on her channel on the short message service Telegram. In it, the propagandist claims she received an “interesting” recording of a 40-minute conversation between high-ranking German soldiers. The conversation on February 19th was about attacks on the Crimean Bridge with Taurus cruise missiles and the alleged direct involvement of Great Britain and France in the clashes, which the German soldiers would admit. The recording also said that Ukraine could be supplied with 100 Taurus missiles in two shipments.

Propagandist from Russia reveals possible Bundeswehr recording: Attack on Crimea probably discussed​

Later, the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti published a full version of the alleged conversation that was said to have taken place between German Air Force commander Ingo Gerhartz and other German Air Force soldiers. There is no independent confirmation. Much more information about the alleged recording appears exclusively on Russian propaganda channels and state sources.

The propaganda continues: Bundeswehr representatives are said to have discussed technical details about a possible Taurus delivery to Ukraine as well as the duration and preparations for an attack on the Crimean Bridge. They are also said to have discussed how to make use of Britain's experience in using Storm Shadow missiles. Russian state media claimed that the Bundeswehr had not responded to inquiries about the alleged recordings.

Russian regime reacts to alleged recording of Crimean attack: Medvedev quotes “Death” poem​

Close confidants of Putin reacted immediately to the publication by the Russian propaganda media. Former head of state Medvedev in particular found sharp words. “The eternal enemies, the Germans, have become our archenemies again,” he wrote on Telegram. Based on the alleged conversation, he said claims about Germany's non-involvement in the Ukraine war were false. “How can you respond to this diplomatically? “I don’t know,” said Medvedev.

But there is no better way to respond than with the words of the Soviet poet Konstantin Simonov, explained Medvedev, who quoted the poet's poem “Kill Him.” In 1942, Simonov used this poem to call on the Russian people to kill Wehrmacht soldiers. “So kill at least one! So kill him as soon as possible! No matter how many times you see him, kill him as many times!” were the lines that Putin’s confidant took from the poem.

He concluded his message with a message based on the Second World War: “And again the reputation from the time of the Great Patriotic War became relevant. Death to the German-fascist occupiers!”

Alleged recording of German soldiers about Taurus attack on Crimea​

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova spoke of a “hybrid war” against Russia that was “in full swing.” “The modern German leadership refers to the experiences of the Third Reich! Yes, they have already gone crazy!” she also wrote on Telegram. Reason for this statement: In the alleged conversation, Air Force Chief Gerhartz is said to have said that the current German Air Force uses “much more modern technology than our good old Air Force.”

The deputy speaker of the Russian Federation Council and senator, Konstantin Kosachev, called for “serious consequences” for Germany and spoke of a “scandal”. Similar to Medvedev, Karasin also said that Chancellor Olaf Scholz's (SPD) statements about Germany's non-participation in the war were refuted when the alleged conversation emerged. “This is direct participation in the war,” said the Russian senator. Eventually the German officers would admit this. He called for a “comprehensive” response from German authorities.


The head of the Russian International Affairs Committee in the Federation Council, Grigory Karasin, accused Germany of “hypocrisy” based on Simonyan’s publication. On the one hand, Germany states that it does not want to supply Taurus rockets and is not taking part in the war. On the other hand, all of this is being discussed in the background, says Karasin. Therefore, it is also a “lie” that NATO is not involved in the conflict and that this will never happen.

Russian propaganda: Putin's additional front in the war against Ukraine​

Simonyan herself had indirectly called for an attack on Germany in her original post - again with a hidden reference to World War II: “Isn't it time we showed them how it ended for Germany the last time, as Russian bridges exploded?”


Simonyan regularly appears on Russian state television together with presenter Vladimir Solovyov, known as the “Voice of Putin”. There are always crude statements and the creation of factually incorrect theses as well as conspiracy theories that are intended to support the propaganda front of the Russian war in Ukraine. (bb)

 

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Suspected Eavesdropping Incident - Disaster for the Bundeswehr?

Date: 02.03.2024 12:56 PM

Straight talk on possible "Taurus" operations in Ukraine: There is hardly any doubt about the authenticity of the alleged Russian recording of an Air Force conversation. Chancellor Scholz referred to it as a "very serious matter."

By Georg Schwarte, ARD Berlin

The presumed authentic recording lasts 38 minutes. The Ministry of Defense officially stated, in response to inquiries from the ARD Capital Studio, that it is reviewing the facts and neither confirming nor denying the authenticity or content of the internet conference published by Russian propaganda channels. However, for WDR investigative reporter Florian Flade, there is hardly any doubt that the conversation, in which Air Force Chief Ingo Gerhartz also participated and openly discussed sensitive information, is genuine. While it is not yet possible to confirm this for the entire recording, "the way these Bundeswehr officials are talking there - that speaks strongly for its authenticity. Even with AI methods, it's currently not possible to replicate."

Spoken very openly about "Taurus" deployment

In the conversation, apparently held on February 19th, the discussion revolves around preparing a briefing for Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) regarding the feasibility of deploying "Taurus" cruise missiles in Ukraine. The four high-ranking military officials speak very openly, for example, about the feasibility of a targeted destruction of the Kerch Bridge from Crimea to the Russian mainland and other details.

The chairman of the parliamentary control committee, Konstantin von Notz (Green Party), describes it as a "highly problematic situation, should the story prove to be true." Flade puts it differently: "This incident is indeed serious. From a security policy standpoint, one could almost say it's a disaster." The recording achieves several things that "play into Moscow's hands."

If the recording is authentic, it would expose the security structure of the Bundeswehr as amateurish during sensitive discussions. Furthermore, the Air Force officers in this case contradict the Chancellor's statement, who recently refused a "Taurus" delivery to Ukraine because otherwise German soldiers would have to be present on site.

NATO Partner probably "not very happy"

But the military also revealed other highly sensitive information in the recording. According to Flade, some NATO partners such as Great Britain, the USA, or France, are likely "not very happy about what they hear there: that personnel from their militaries are already present in Ukraine."

The Ministry of Defense continues to remain silent and is investigating the case.

Chancellor Scholz on the alleged eavesdropping incident:

"What is reported there is a very serious matter. And that's why it will be clarified very carefully, very intensively, and very quickly now - and that is also necessary."

Are there more publications to come?

CDU defense politician Roderich Kiesewetter, in any case, wrote to the ARD Capital Studio, espionage is part of the Russian toolbox of hybrid warfare. He assumes that further conversations have been intercepted and could be released at a favorable moment for Russia.

The consequences that the Bundeswehr will draw from the alleged espionage case are unclear. The chairwoman of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP), told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland that our naivety must finally come to an end. Cyber attacks, espionage, and disinformation have already increased massively: "We urgently need to increase our security and counter-espionage measures because we are obviously vulnerable in this area."

 

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This incident is a huuuuuuge scandal for the Germany, in several respects. The fact that such a high-level military delegation could be wiretapped by enemy intelligence, and even during wartime, is the first link in the chain of scandals. The second link is that the soldiers are making plans despite the government. The weak leadership shown by the government is the last link in the chain.
 

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Singapore sting: How spies listened in on German general​


It's nearly midnight in Singapore.
A senior officer of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, is in his hotel room.
He's in the region to rub shoulders with defence industry players at Asia's largest air show.
He has had a long day - but he can't go to bed just yet.
Brigadier General Frank Gräfe has a work call to dial into with his boss - the commander of the German air force.
It's not a big deal for the head of Air Force Operations. He sounds relaxed on the line as he chats with two colleagues about the "mega" view from his room, and how he's just come back from a drink at a nearby hotel where there's an incredible swimming pool.

"Not too shabby," one of them remarks.
Finally, the boss, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, dials in - and they begin. Over the next 40 minutes, the group appear to touch upon highly sensitive military issues, including the ongoing debate over whether Germany should send Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine.
What none of the call's participants know is that they're being eavesdropped on - and their conversation is being recorded.
Two weeks after the call took place, the audio tape was leaked by Russia's state-run RT channel.
Germany hasn't said whether they believe the recording may have been tampered with - but they have confirmed that the call did take place and that it was intercepted by, they believe, Russian spies.
Their man in Singapore had, according to the German government, sprung "a data leak".

While he hasn't been officially named, it's implied that it was Frank Gräfe who accidentally let spies onto the call.
Soon, their supposedly top-secret discussion spilled out via Russian state media and echoed across the world.

The apparent contents of the call are now well-known.
The four participants discussed what targets German-made Taurus missiles could potentially hit if Chancellor Olaf Scholz ever allowed them to be sent to Kyiv - a contentious issue in Germany.
French and British weapons deliveries were also brought up, including the highly sensitive suggestion that a "few" British personnel are allegedly on the ground in Ukraine.
But how were spies able to eavesdrop?

The answer we've been given so far boils down to a case of human error.

According to German authorities, the "data leak" was down to just one participant dialling in on an insecure line, either via his mobile or the hotel wi-fi.
The exact mode of dial-in is "still being clarified", Germany has said.
"I think that's a good lesson for everybody: never use hotel internet if you want to do a secure call," Germany's ambassador to the UK, Miguel Berger, told the BBC this week. Some may feel the advice came a little too late.
Eyebrows were raised when it emerged the call happened on the widely-used WebEx platform - but Berlin has insisted the officials used an especially secure, certified version.
Professor Alan Woodward from the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security says that WebEx does provide end-to-end encryption "if you use the app itself".
But using a landline, mobile phone, or open hotel wi-fi could mean security was no longer guaranteed - and Russian spies, it's now supposed, were ready to pounce.
Professor Woodward says that spies were "probably sitting on the fringes of the Singapore Air Show".

The biennial event, which this year took place on 20-25 February, typically attracts high-level government, military and industry figures.
If you're a spy, "when you get gatherings like that, it's always worth sitting in the car park or getting a hotel room", says Professor Woodward.
The Russians could have, theoretically, used long-range antennae combined with computer programming capable of capturing local network traffic.
"Essentially these intercepts are like rattling door handles and seeing what you can find," Professor Woodward says. "Eventually you find one that's unlocked."
A researcher in cryptography in Berlin, Henning Seidler, believes the most likely theory is that the officer dialled in via his mobile phone and the call was picked up by spies' antenna who can also "forward" the traffic onto the main, official antenna.
But all the while, "they are just listening and writing down everything that's being transmitted".
"It's like fishing with dynamite. You just throw a stick of dynamite in a pond and see which fish are floating up afterwards."
"This was their most juicy catch."
Berlin was anxious to rule out one theory that was doing the rounds - that a Russian spy simply dialled in and sat on the line, without anyone noticing.
And the government is insisting that, while they are investigating what happened, this is all essentially down to one man's mistake.
The call was netted in a widespread fishing exercise, they argue. The spies got lucky, while Germany didn't.
Former senior army officer and Bundestag member, Roderich Kiesewetter, is among those who don't quite buy the "this could have happened to anyone" line of defence.
"You have to choose a certain kind of disguise for this disaster," says Mr Kiesewetter, who's also worked at the Nato military alliance and is a member of Germany's opposition conservative CDU party.

He believes that a "peacetime" mindset has allowed complacency to set in.
"It might be a personal mistake," Mr Kiesewetter says. "However, it is a signal of a systemic failure."
He also believes Germany is a "soft target" due in part to a "widespread Russian romanticism" dating back to World War Two.
But German government figures find suggestions that they are somehow soft on Russia increasingly irritating, particularly because Berlin has donated more weapons aid to Ukraine than any other nation in Europe.
Ministers also believe that Moscow deliberately released the leaked tape on the day of opposition leader Alexei Navalny's funeral in a deliberate attempt to distract at home and divide abroad.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's playing a "perfidious" game that "we must not fall for", said Defence Minister Boris Pistorius this week.
Russia has neither confirmed, or denied, that its intelligence service was behind the hack.
But whoever it was that picked up an insecure line in a Singapore hotel room late one February night, this Luftwaffe leak has been damaging for Germany.
It's further exposed domestic divisions about whether to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine and prompted a wider discussion about the country's perceived defence and security weaknesses.
In Berlin, they're just hoping that the leak was, indeed. just a one-off - rather than the tip of the iceberg.

 

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