The man in the news is Thomas de Maiziére, the German Minister of the Interior. Yesterday, he said that a terrorist attack in November is a distinct possibility and that there is cause for concern even if there is no need for hysteria. One day later, in the form of a self-fulfilling prophecy, the nonsense starts with a bag containing a detonator, batteries and a ticking clock being detected on a suitcase during screening at the main international airport in Namibia’s capital Windhoek. The bag “could have been bound for Munich” we are told and in the meantime we might be pleased to learn that this “detonator, batteries and a ticking clock” which “could have been bound for Munich” was in fact a laptop. Well, it is at least doubtful if there was genuine cause for concern here, but the reaction of the authorities does appear to be more than a little hysterical. Indeed, on arriving in Munich six hours late the passengers were interrogated by the border police.
Of course, there are those who are going to see things very differently and in ZDF’s Mittagsmagazin we had Konrad Freiberg, the Chairman of the German Police Union telling us how important it is to keep the records of private telephone conversations, while Hans-Peter Uhl from the Bavarian CSU tells us that anyone who is still against the government retaining private data hasn’t understood the nature of the threat. They might, indeed, be right and while we can only hope that this little scare will be all that we will be confronted with, we can be fairly certain that Hans-Peter, Konrad and Thomas will be working together reverse the decision made by the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe some eight months ago that the mass storage of private records breaches Germany’s constitution. Of course, one shudders to think what they will come up with if there is actually a terrorist attack in Germany.