Germany Sought Help from the NSA to Shut down Doxxing Twitter Accounts

German newspaper Bild has reported that German authorities had contacted the National Security Agency (NSA), an intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, to seek help in finding the perpetrators of the advent calendar doxxing campaign.

Beginning in December of last year, Twitter accounts started tweeting sensitive information on hundreds of German politicians, including their contacts, private chats, as well as financial details. The victims, which were primarily politicians but also included celebrities and journalists, comprised figures from all the political parties in the country with the exception of the far-right party AfD.

The information was shared on the microblogging platform from the first of December until the 28th of the same month, “in the style of an advent calendar last month” according to the BBC.

Namely, German investigators wanted the US agency to pressure Twitter Inc. into shutting down the accounts that were involved in the campaign. The Germans tried to convince the NSA to help by saying that US citizens were also among the victims of the data dump.

Political Aftermath

Some politicians in Germany have voiced blame against the Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI, claiming that the latter was too slow to respond to the incident.

The BSI on its part issued a statement defending its action. It said that it had started investigating as soon as the hack was brought to its attention by a lawmaker in Germany’s lower house, known as the Bundestag, but that it wasn’t until the hacked information was released into the public that it was able to know that the cases were linked.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, is scheduled to meet with the heads of the BSI and Germany’s Federal Crime office on Monday. A report on the leaks is expected this week.