A 20-year-old student who disclosed the private data of nearly 1,000 politicians and others in one of Germany's biggest data breaches had expressed rightwing and anti-Muslim views on the Internet, German media reported on Friday. Using the Internet handle "r00taccess", the student, identified as Johannes S., said "Islam is filth: we don't live in the 6th century" and discussed the return of Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday.
German officials this week said the student, who lived with his parents in the central state of Hesse, had confessed to the breach. They said he had described himself as frustrated about the utterances of politicians, but right-wing material was not initially found in a search of his home. However investigators have now found that he engaged in repeated right-wing posts on the Internet and was part of a right-leaning community of "hack-tivists", Spiegel reported. No comment was immediately available from the German interior ministry.
The Frankfurt prosecutor's office, which is handling the case, could not be reached. Spiegel said the suspect claimed in another posting that the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party would not be able to rid Germany of migrants, and it would take the ultranationalist National Democratic Party (NPD) "to clean up properly." Germany's Constitutional Court in 2017 ruled that the NPD resembled Hitler's Nazi party, but ruled against banning it because it was too weak to endanger democracy. Spiegel said authorities had opened three investigations of the student in recent years on suspicion that he was trying to illegally obtain data and falsify evidence, cases that were still pending in the courts.
A 19-year-old witness interviewed in the case, Jan Schuerlein, told broadcaster ARD that he helped lead authorities to the suspect because he had posted on the Internet about an earlier police raid. By pinpointing the date, authorities were able to identify the suspect. "He is definitely a little oriented to the right, but not right-wing extremist," Schuerlein told ARD. "But he had a big problem with the migrants and migrant policy." Schuerlein said the suspect also had a negative view of Islam and "viewed all Muslims as terrorists."
(With inputs from agencies.)