Espionage Affair: Mutual Accusation in the National Council

The ÖVP demanded the current time on the matter of state security. General Secretary Christian Stocker struck a blow against the Freedom Party. He again accused Gikl of destroying state security during his tenure as interior minister during the ÖVP-FPÖ government.

It is now clear that a network around the suspected Russian spy Ott provided the basis for the raid on the Federal Office for the Defense of the Constitution and Combating Terrorism (BVT) and that this network had close links to the FPÖ. “The FPÖ is really a Russian Trojan in Austria,” Stocker said. ÖVP-EU front-runner Reinhold Lopatka warned that the affair would cause major damage to Austria's reputation.

Stalker verbal attack against FPÖ

ÖVP General Secretary Christian Stocker accused FPÖ leader Kikl of destroying state security

Garner: BVT Successor “Missions”

Interior Minister Gerhard Garner (ÖVP) said that state security is “now working again” in the form of the BVT successor body, the Directorate of State Security and Intelligence (DSN). Karner said ties with international partners were intact again after the international quarantine over illegal home searches in BVT under Interior Minister Gikl, using his speech to again call for “modern” investigative methods for the police. Also monitors Internet telephony and messenger services.

Garner: “Modern” Methods of Inquiry

Interior Minister Gerhard Garner stressed the DSN's operation and reiterated the need for more powers when it comes to monitoring modern communication channels.

Maurer criticizes the FPÖ's connections with Russia

Green Club leader Sigrid Maurer also criticized the “gross destruction of state security” by the raids under Giglin, who was interior minister. He again denied the FPÖ's close ties to Russia and referred to a friendship pact with Putin's United Russia party.

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Marr: “Deliberate Destruction”

Green Party leader Sigrid Maurer joined the ÖVP and criticized the “unnecessary destruction of state security” during Gikl's tenure as interior minister.

Contrary to the FPÖ's statements, it is “still being established”. “Yeah, where's the stop?” asked Maurer in the direction of the FPÖ, and accused them of not being credible on this question.

Giggle: “Time of Misinformation”

Gigl, who was added to the list of speakers at short notice, angrily rejected all the allegations and described the debate as “hours of misinformation and fake news”. By the time he took over as home minister, BVT was a “neglected, dysfunctional institution”. This “catastrophic situation” is the result of decades of ÖVP responsibility in this area, which created a “breeding ground” for information leakage.

BVT: Kickl takes ÖVP to task

FPÖ party leader Herbert Kigl rejected the allegations and described the debate in the National Council as “an hour of misinformation and fake news”.

The SPÖ and NEOS also see the ÖVP responsible

The SPÖ and NEOS saw responsibility for the espionage issue not only with the FPÖ but also with the People's Party.

Einwallner (SPÖ) points to ÖVP responsibility

SPÖ MP Reinhold Einwallner recalled that the ÖVP and FPÖ led the Interior Ministry for a total of 24 years.

SPÖ MP Reinhold Einwallner spoke of the “inappropriate spectacle” of the FPÖ and ÖVP, who have led the interior ministry for 24 years, now switching responsibility back and forth. The SPÖ recalled that, like NEOS and the FPÖ, the ÖVP had publicly supported the BVT test.

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Crisper: ÖVP practices “child abandonment”.

“It's incredible how you're rewriting history and shirking responsibility,” said NEOS MP Stephanie Crisper in the direction of the ÖVP.

“It's unbelievable how you rewrite history and shirk responsibility,” NEOS commissioner Stephanie Krisper said, accusing the ÖVP of “abandoning children”. After all, it was the ÖVP that brought the FPÖ into government and allowed Kikkel to become interior minister.

The Ott–Peterlik connection focuses

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the relationship between former constitutional officer Ott and Peterlik came into focus. Peterlik became general secretary to FPÖ Foreign Minister Kneissl in 2017. After the “Ibiza” scandal, he was sent as ambassador to Indonesia, but was soon suspended. According to the indictment, the career diplomat was involved in passing the secret formula for the nerve agent Novichok to Wireguard team member John Marsalek.

The ÖVP accuses Ott and Peterlik of working to set up a kind of “shadow secret service”. It also includes Peterlik's numerous requests for investigative queries. Also, the diplomat is said to have asked Ott to get him an arms pass. “Journal” had already reported about the allegations two years ago.

As the APA reported Wednesday, the firearms permit investigation against Peterlik was dropped. Investigations into Peterlik's request to Ott to query the suppressed number from the provider were also halted. According to APA, investigations into Peterlik were also halted for allegedly leaking secrets to Ott regarding freelance journalist Max Zirngast, who was imprisoned in Turkey at the time.

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Hafeneker: “ÖVP optimist Peterlik”

Despite Peterlik sitting in the FPÖ-run wing at the time, liberal General Secretary Christian Hafeneker was “surprised” by the public prosecutor's lenient treatment of “ÖVP confidante” Peterlik.

He previously worked for ÖVP ministers Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Sophie Garmasin. The fact that Ott did not have access to the requested data is also “significant” in light of ongoing allegations about his skills and access.

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