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Jan 10, 7:28 AM EST

Spy chief says Germany needs ability to counter cyberattacks


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BERLIN (AP) -- The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency says the country needs to be able to return fire during a cyberattack, including the ability to disable equipment that's being used to target Germany.

Hans-Georg Maassen told German news agency dpa in an interview published Tuesday that it's necessary "for us not just to be purely defensive."

Maassen, who heads the BfV agency, said Germany "needs to be able to attack the enemy in order to stop him from attacking us further."

The BfV is responsible for counter-espionage and doesn't operate outside Germany, so acquiring offensive electronic warfare capabilities would mark a departure for the agency.

Maassen's boss, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, recently proposed an overhaul of Germany's security apparatus in response to the threat of terrorism and state-sponsored hacking.

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