Private data of hundreds of German politicians released online

A German flag flutters next to the dome of the Reichstag building in Berlin
A German flag flutters next to the dome of the Reichstag building, seat of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, on Oct. 2, 2013. Copyright Fabrizio Bensch
By Linda Givetash and Andy Eckardt and Associated Press with NBC News World News
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The data released may have been stolen in multiple attacks but doesn't appear to be politically sensitive, a German government spokesperson said.


Data and sensitive information from hundreds of German officials have been released online in what may be the result of a cyberattack, according to German officials.

A government spokesperson on Friday said that an initial review found that "no sensitive information and data" related to Chancellor Angela Merkel had been released, though that claim was contradicted by local news agency DPA, which reported that a fax number and email address belonging to Merkel along with several letters to and from the chancellor were among the information released.

Government officials have not confirmed specifically who was affected, what type of data was released and whether it was a hack, a leak or another type of data breach.


The German public broadcaster RBB reported that the information was posted on a Twitter account over a series of days in December leading up to Christmas.

Merkel's entire cabinet was targeted as part of a cyberattack that occurred until at least the end of October, according to the German newspaper Bild. Some of the information released included private emails, mobile phone numbers and private addresses.

NBC News was not able to independently verify the claims.

Politicians from all levels, including the European parliament, were affected by the data breach, a government spokesperson said. Other people of public interest, including artists and journalists, were also among those affected.

Officials confirmed that "relatively recent data but also older data was concerned" in the incident and it is unclear "whether this was (the result of) one or more hacking attacks."

The source of the attack remains unknown.


Germany's Cyber Defense Center has taken the lead in investigating and analyzing the incident.

The government said it is "taking this incident very seriously" and both the federal criminal police and the domestic intelligence service are involved in the investigation.

Linda Givetash reported from London, Andy Eckardt from Mainz, Germany.

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