On Thursday (24 September), Christian Gramm, the president of Germany’s Military Intelligence Service (MAD), was forced to resign. To many, the shake-up doesn’t come as a surprise given the recent criticism over how the agency handled investigations into right-wing extremism in the German Special Forces (KSK). Gramm’s term as MAD president will come to an end next month.
In spring this year, reports surfaced of far-right members in Germany’s Special Forces including one member who had 6,000 rounds of ammunition and 2 kilogrammes of highly explosive material buried on his property. Then, in early July, Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) dissolved a unit of the KSK and warned of further consequences down the line if reforms weren’t instituted.
Since then, the MAD has been one of the bodies in charge of overseeing investigations, but for months, the Bundestag has been investigating the MAD’s own probe. The Bundestag’s inspectors claimed that the agency was not cooperating with the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and that there was no regular questioning.
Right-wing extremism in Germany’s police forces could be a larger problem than initially thought. A current report claims that since 2017, 104 members of the North Rhine-Westphalian (NRW) police force have been investigated on suspicion of holding right-wing extremist views.
This comes after last week’s discovery of police chat groups, where officers shared neo-Nazi and racist messages.