Many right-wing extremists in the police & Co.

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The President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, finds the number of anti-democracy members in German security agencies “terrifying”. He wants to change that as soon as possible.

Together against right-wing extremists: Protection of the Constitution -Boss Thomas Haldenwang (left) and Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser

Franco A., soldiers at the KSK, NSU 2.0 – behind every single name is a suspected right-wing extremist or a whole group of suspected enemies of the state. People who share photos of Adolf Hitler in chat groups, who hoard weapons somewhere, or who are planning the overthrow in Germany. They earn their money with the army, the police, secret services, customs – in short: they work in security agencies that are responsible for protecting Germany.

327 ​​suspected enemies of the constitution in three years

But if integrity is damaged from within, “then this is particularly dangerous for the rule of law and democracy,” says German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. Together with the President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Thomas Haldenwang, she presented the current situation report on right-wing extremists, “Reich citizens” and “self-administrators” in security authorities in Berlin. The first inventory was commissioned by Faeser's predecessor Horst Seehofer. 

All cases registered between July 2018 and June 2021 in which civil servants gave reason to doubt their loyalty to the constitution are recorded. The all-clear was given for 533 of the 860 people from federal and state security agencies who were checked. What remained were 327 suspected and proven cases of “actual indications of efforts against the free democratic basic order”.

“Sometimes you have access to weapons”

Thomas Haldenwang sums up the result in one word: “terrifying”. Every enemy of the constitution is “also a slap in the face to all those employees who stand with both feet on the ground of the Basic Law”. In fact, the image of the security authorities has suffered massively in recent years. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser points out the high risk potential: “They have access to sensitive data, they have special knowledge and sometimes access to weapons.”

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The social democrat considers the thesis of individual perpetrators, which has been maintained for a long time, to be outdated. “No, they move in networks.” However, not within the security authorities, “but in a private environment”. According to the situation report, contacts are made in a wide variety of milieus:  at demonstrations, at martial arts and music events or at regulars' tables.

(yet) no indication of national networks

According to current knowledge, this is primarily a regional phenomenon. “We have not been able to uncover any cases where officials from Frankfurt are somehow in contact with officials from Berlin or Munich and are pursuing common goals,” says Thomas Haldenwang. But he would never rule that out, emphasizes the BfV President.

By far the most suspected cases recorded in networks are attributed to violent right-wing extremism: 53.6 percent. Citizens of the Reich and self-governers who deny the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany make up a good seven percent. And almost three percent had contacts with the so-called New Right.

Contacts with the AfD

The figurehead of this intellectual scene is the publisher Götz Kubitschek. He, in turn, has points of contact with the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD). The party sits in the Bundestag and in 15 of the 16 state parliaments. Among their deputies are also civil servants. Whether in school service, in the judiciary or in the security authorities – according to Thomas Haldenwang, the sensitivity for right-wing extremists and other alleged enemies of the constitution has increased significantly.

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Also through press reports, emphasizes the head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Whether in his own authority or another – with training, the perspective should be further sharpened. If necessary, also with external support – because: “The misunderstanding that one can somehow settle such problems in one's own ranks has been thoroughly cleared up,” says Haldenwang.

Nancy Faeser wants to get rid of right-wing extremists faster< /h2>

Comparatively few civil servants have lost their jobs due to the allegations.  Around 500 labor and disciplinary proceedings were initiated, but only 60 people affected were dismissed or not taken on as civil servants. In order to be able to get rid of enemies of the constitution more quickly in the future, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser plans to soon present a bill to amend the Federal Disciplinary Act. It is unsatisfactory that the proceedings usually drag on for several years.