“On numbers, I won’t comment. They are secret. But my goal for the department on right-wing extremism is that it approach the size of our largest department that works on Islamist terrorism.”
Thomas Haldenwang — President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz)
Thomas Haldenwang, the new head of the Germany’s federal domestic intelligence agency — has revealed that more resources will be allocated to Department II which is charged with the surveillance of right-wing extremists. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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Thomas Haldenwang has been working at the Cologne-based Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) since 2009.
Mr Haldenwang was head of the Central Services Department until late 2012, when he was appointed Permanent Deputy to the Vice President. Since November 15 2018, he has been the BfV’s president.
Mr Haldenwang was chosen to replace Mr Hans-Georg Maassen who was sacked amid a row over the Chemnitz incidents controversy.
The new head of the BfV revealed that the size of “Department Two” will increase by 50 percent in 2019.
The “Department Two” of the BfV is responsible for tracking right-wing extremists inside Germany.
Although he would not comment on numbers, the boost probably means an increase from 200 to 300 personnel.
The organisation of the BfV
The BfV’s organisational structure is as follows:
President and Vice-president
Information Technology and Operational Intelligence Technology
Central Operational Support
Counter-espionage, Personnel/Physical Security,
Counter-sabotage and Protection Against Industrial Espionage
Extremism of foreigners and Left-wing Extremism
Islamism and Islamist Terrorism
The “Maassen affair”
Last year, the government decided to sack Mr Maassen because of his response to far-right unrest in Chemnitz, eastern Germany.
Anti-migrant “hunts” were reported there on August 26 2019 after a German man was killed in a brawl with migrants.
Mr Maassen doubted that foreign-looking people had been hounded. Chancellor Angela Merkel was urged to sack him.
Critics said his scepticism downplayed the seriousness of far-right violence and intimidation in Chemnitz.
The federal BfV agency now counts about 24,000 right-wing extremists across Germany.
“More than half of them are violence-orientated,” said Haldenwang.
“I found especially shocking scenes in which men who exhibited the Hitler salute were applauded by members of the public from the curbside,” he added.
“We have observed explicit violence against persons with migratory backgrounds and violence against Jewish institutions,” he concluded.
Haldenwang said his federal office was carefully examining more than 1,000 pages of material sent by Germany’s 16 states about the far-right populist AfD’s organizational branches.
The BfV will decide this month (January 2019) on its legal recommendations – within postwar federal precepts overseen by Germany’s Constitutional Court.
Chemnitz unrest: German top spy Maassen forced out — BBC (Sept 18 2018)
Germany — BfV to enlarge “Department Two” by 50 percent in 2019