BERLIN (AA) – Germany on Thursday named a new head for its domestic intelligence agency BfV, which has been embroiled in various scandals in recent years.
Thomas Haldenwang, currently vice president of the BfV, was appointed by the Cabinet to head the agency, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told a news conference in Berlin.
Haldenwang’s predecessor Hans-Georg Maassen was fired last week after his controversial remarks on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government, and his alleged contacts with senior politicians from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Maassen was sharply criticized by Social Democrats for not taking serious the growing threat posed by the right-wing extremist groups.
In recent years, multiple scandals at the BfV have sparked public criticism and opposition parties accused the agency for covering up the murders of the neo-Nazi group NSU.
The shadowy NSU killed 10 people, including eight Turkish and one Greek immigrant as well as a police officer, between 2000 and 2007, but the murders long remained unresolved.
While recent revelations have shown that the BfV had informants who had contacts with the NSU suspects, officials insisted that they had no prior information about the killings.