“I think we can't completely avoid [using informants]. Otherwise we will have too little information from the circles surrounding the NPD,” Friedrich said in an interview with the radio station Deutschlandfunk.
Moves have been made by state intelligence agencies to informants from operating in their regional NPD party as part of preparations for a possible attempt to ban the party. Previous attempts to do so foundered on evidence that NPD leaders on whose anti-constitutional statements and actions the ban application was based, were being paid by the state.
The uproar over the use of informants in neo-Nazi circles re-started after a neo-Nazi group in Thuringia was discovered last November. Authorities believe the group is responsible for nine racially-motivated killings and the murder of a policewoman.
Friedrich, a member of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), part of the ruling coalition, does want to get rid of some informants.
“We're at least removing the informants from the top echelons of the party at state and federal levels,” he told the radio station.
He said informants were an important tool to fight organized crime as well as political extremism. Friedrich warned about endangering such sources of information.
“Therefore we must find a way that allows us in the future to maintain such information sources in the criminal and extremist areas so that we don't destroy anything that will hurt us more in the long-run.”