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Intelligence chief resigns over mistakes

The Local · 2 Jul 2012, 17:42

Published: 02 Jul 2012 12:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Jul 2012 17:42 GMT+02:00

Heinz Fromm, president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), will step down at the end of the month after 12 years, his office confirmed to the Local.

It emerged last week that BfV officials destroyed files relating to informants in neo-Nazi groups linked with the terror group – on the same day that a connection between the murders and the group was made.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich publicly reprimanded Fromm, calling for a complete explanation. The Süddeutsche Zeitung said on Monday that Fromm had offered his resignation last week but that Friedrich had refused it. The paper added that the 63-year-old Fromm was due to retire next year in any case.

Friedrich said that Fromm "was, as he conveyed, himself surprised and distressed about the mistakes by employees in his authority".

"He is, like me, deeply worried about the resulting loss of confidence in the domestic intelligence agency," the minister said in a statement.

Fromm and the BfV have come under increasing criticism for their failure uncover and stop the trio of neo-Nazis who called themselves the National Socialist Underground (NSU) and claimed to have killed nine immigrant businessmen and a policewoman over several years.

Social Democratic Party parliamentary leader Thomas Oppermann said, “Heinz Fromm's decision is consistent and deserves great respect.” But he said it did nothing to change the fact that, “The Protection of the Constitution system fundamentally needs to be closely scrutinised.”

Free Democratic Party domestic affairs specialist Hartfrid Wolff said the resignation was an “honourable step” but that it led to the suspicion that, “there could be more than we suspect behind the destruction of the files.”

Wolfgang Bosbach, chairman of the parliamentary interior affairs committee of said in comments to be published in Tuesday's Die Welt newspaper, work to clarify what happened must continue "no-holds-barred and relentlessly".

The head of the opposition Greens parliamentary group, Renate Künast, also said efforts must now be stepped up, while the chairman of the parliamentary committee probing the murders did not rule out other staff changes.

"Whether more follow is to be seen," Sebastian Edathy told Handelsblatt Online.

"We are still at the beginning of the investigation."

Story continues below…

Fromm is still due to appear before the investigative committee on Thursday.

He was appointed head of the BfV in June 2000 having led the state-level version of the service in Hesse.

The Local/DAPD/AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:29 July 2, 2012 by William Thirteen
drat! where is Reinhard Gehlen when you need him?
20:18 July 2, 2012 by bigpainingermany
They murder of nine immigrants but who then cares? All of them (National Socialist Underground NSU) where Germans so who has time to follow up what was going on with the immigrants? Painfully though, the families and friends of those murdered were instead suspected of their murder (double sorry and pain). May their souls and all the faithfully departed rest in peace. Nevertheless, I render my personal respect to Mr. Heinz Fromm that he offer to resign and accepted mistakes because this is what does not exits in Germany instead people will start to point fingers here and there untill the others concern get sick in the head or die with heart attack and that will be the end of it.
16:06 July 6, 2012 by Almirante
Does this mean that Germany will now stop harassing and spying on religions that aren't part of its approved list of religions?

I've never heard of anything so utterly closed-minded, pig-headed and ridiculous.

Germany used to be a country that others respected for having a high personal morality, self-discipline and work ethic.

Now you persecute and small churches and religions who would help re-instill those exact qualities in the "lost Germans" and immigrants who have no religion, no work ethic, no self-control--and who suck the country's treasury dry and raise everyone else's taxes out of sight.

Besides, such harassment of small religions simply wastes D-Mark. What good could this money be doing, perhaps in anti-drug programs, if it weren't being wasted on following decent men and women?
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