Hillary 2.0? Data on New EU President’s Official Phone Wiped

hillary
ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

A criminal complaint has been filed after it was revealed that Germany’s Defence Ministry wiped data from the phone of its former boss and new European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen — echoing similar incidents involving Hillary Clinton in the United States.

Green Party defence spokesman Tobias Lindner filed a criminal complaint over suspected deliberate deletion of data from Ursula von der Leyen’s official phone from her time serving as Germany’s Defence Minister.

“We have to assume that people in office destroyed evidence. Such actions can have criminal relevance”, said Lindner in comments reported by Deutsche Welle.

“First they said von der Leyen’s phone could not be found, they didn’t know where it was. A week ago they said it was in the ministry, but only von der Leyen knew the PIN code, and yesterday they confessed that the relevant phone data had been deleted in August”, he added.

The revelation of Von der Leyen’s deleted data comes amidst a corruption investigation in Germany over military spending and possible cronyism in the process of awarding military contracts.

A protege of Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen was the German Defence Minister from 2013 to 2019 before being appointed President of the European Commission earlier this month.

During her tenure as Defence Minister, von der Leyen spent millions on private military consultancy firms. Germany’s Federal Audit Office revealed that the ministry had spent massive amounts of money on these firms and often awarded the contracts on a no-bid basis, prompting parliamentary investigations.

Members of the German parliament, the Bundestag, believe that the deleted data from von der Leyen’s phone may have shown the new EU chief broke the law in awarding the consultancy contracts without leaving a paper trail.

Tobias Lindner said that there should be efforts made to recover the deleted data and that Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, von der Leyen’s successor, should punish those responsible for deleting the data in the defence ministry.

“It can’t be acceptable that the ministry continues to torpedo the investigative work of the committee”, Lindner said.

“Deleting a cell phone without first evaluating it for possible evidence has nothing to do with the normal finger-waving between the federal government and a committee of inquiry, this is about a tangible scandal”, he concluded.

The scandal has drawn parallels to the Hillary Clinton email scandal, in which the former presidential candidate stored classified information on a private email server. An FBI prosecutor said that he believes Ms Clinton used the server to avoid freedom of information requests about the contents of her emails.

Clinton used a software program called “BleachBit” to delete thousands of emails, and according to the FBI a former aide to former president Bill Clinton smashed at least two of Mrs Clinton’s mobile devices with a hammer.

In June the U.S. State Department revealed that “multiple security incidents” occurred as a result of the private email server. At least 15 people handled the emails, some of which were classified.

So far no criminal charges have been brought against Hillary Clinton in relation to the scandal.

Follow Kurt on Twitter @KurtZindulka

 

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