The U.S. Government had doubts that the German Free Democratic Party would be a reliable partner in combating terrorism on the Internet, according to cables made public by Wikileaks, and after the elections some officials felt those doubts were vindicated.
The cables, sent from the U.S. embassy in Berlin, were written in September 2009 and January 2010. They outline the general political stance of the FDP, which was for smaller government, less intervention in the markets, and crucially, opposing expanding the power of German law enforcement to monitor citizen's Internet use.
The 2009 cable notes that the FDP opposed the passage of a German law that year that expanded the powers of the German Federal Police (BKA) to conduct remote investigations of computers belonging to serious crime suspects. It was only after the law was amended to include judicial approval of such searches that it was passed.
The cable describes a meeting with Gisela Piltz, who said the new law would turn the BKA into a super spy agency, and expressed concern over data-sharing agreements with the U.S. FDP head Guido Westerwelle is also said to be unhappy with sharing information on travelers and financial transactions. Westerweele even went so far as to say a plan for U.S. government access to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) database of financial transactions was unacceptable.
The cable also notes that Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was likely to get the job of justice minister - which she eventually did - and would probably scrutinize closely data-sharing agreements between the governments.
At the same time, the U.S. officials said that if the FDP were to gain real government power, the party might be convinced to support more extensive security measures.
That didn't happen. In early 2010 the U.S. embassy said it is urgent that Terrorist Finance Tracking Program and data privacy experts visit Berlin, as The exaggerated data privacy views of the current minority governing partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), have contributed to a domestic discussion that distorts U.S. policy and is negatively-influencing the European debate.
Germany has become a difficult partner with regards to security-related information sharing initiatives following the Sept. 27 national elections, the cable says. That election brought the FDP in as a partner in the governing coalition. At times, the FDP's fixation on data privacy and protection issues looks to have come at the expense of the party forming responsible views on counterterrorism policy.