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Germany Dismisses Army Intelligence Official After Neo-Nazi Scandals

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BERLIN — After a sequence of scandals involving far-right extremists within the German navy, the federal government on Thursday dismissed the pinnacle of its navy counterintelligence service, the physique tasked with monitoring extremism contained in the armed forces.

Christof Gramm, who has led the company since 2015, will take early retirement subsequent month, in line with an announcement by the protection ministry. A successor has but to be named.

It’s the newest signal that after years of neglect, political leaders are shifting to confront a problem that has grow to be too harmful to disregard.

Throughout Mr. Gramm’s 5 years on the helm of the service, the variety of circumstances of far-right extremists contained in the navy, some hoarding weapons and explosives, has multiplied alarmingly.

Thursday’s announcement got here three months after Protection Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer disbanded one of four fighting companies in Germany’s elite special forces, the KSK, as a result of it was thought-about to be riddled with extremists.

Investigators had found a trove of Nazi memorabilia and an in depth arsenal of stolen ammunition and explosives on the property of a sergeant main who had served within the KSK since 2001. A number of troopers in his firm had flashed Hitler salutes and sang Nazi rock at a celebration, in line with a witness assertion.

Over all, the navy counterintelligence service, recognized broadly by the acronym MAD, is investigating greater than 600 troopers for far-right extremism. Some 48,000 rounds of ammunition and 62 kilograms, or about 137 kilos, of explosives have disappeared from the KSK.

Officers aware of his departure mentioned that Mr. Gramm’s private integrity was not doubtful. However on his watch — and regardless of a sequence of inner reforms — the navy counterintelligence service failed in its mission to watch and detect extremism.

Considerations about far-right infiltration even turned to the company itself: A high-ranking investigator in its extremism unit was suspended in June after sharing confidential materials from an investigation a few KSK soldier with a contact contained in the KSK.

“The work of the MAD was not passable,” Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer mentioned in July after the most recent KSK scandal. “It’s nonetheless not sufficient.”

Thursday’s assertion acknowledged that Mr. Gramm had initiated some adjustments that led to “a tangible enchancment” in how the service operated. However there was a necessity for “further efforts and dynamism” that must be mirrored by a change in personnel, the protection ministry assertion learn.

The purpose now could be to tie the company’s work extra intently to the far greater home intelligence company, whose chief has recognized far-right extremism and terrorism because the “biggest danger to German democracy immediately.”

Over the previous 16 months, far-right terrorists have assassinated a politician, attacked a synagogue and shot dead nine immigrants and German descendants of immigrants.

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