Government at odds over constitutional protection reform

Government at odds over constitutional protection reform

Federal interior minister hans-peter friedrich on saturday rejected justice minister sabine leutheusser-schnarrenberger’s call for a downsizing of the domestic intelligence service. "That’s a very sweeping demand that i can’t quite understand," the CSU politician said of the advance by his FDP colleague. The challenges would rather increase, the constitutional protection must therefore become more efficient. "That’s the real mission, it’s not about quantitat."

Leutheusser-schnarrenberger had previously called for the merging of offices for the protection of the constitution and the reduction of the range of tasks. Currently there is one federal office and 16 state offices for the protection of the constitution. "The number of authorities must be significantly reduced," the minister told the "tagesspiegel" newspaper. In addition, the secret service must concentrate on the few tasks where there is a real threat to the basic order. "The structure of the agencies and the distribution of tasks among the offices for the protection of the constitution must be examined from every angle."At the same time, it must be avoided that the police creep into taking over the tasks of the constitutional protection agency. "The separation requirement is indispensable for the FDP."

A reform of the secret service was already being discussed before the investigation breakdowns in connection with the neo-nazi murders. But now the debate has clearly gained momentum. The SPD interior ministers want to regain the people’s diminished trust in the constitutional protection agency through more transparency and better parliamentary control. A broad political dialogue is needed to develop viable concepts, north rhine-westphalia’s interior minister ralf jager told the dpa news agency. Together with the other SPD ministers, he has drawn up a position paper calling, among other things, for better cooperation between the federal and state governments and the central pooling of information.

Renate kunast, head of the grunen parliamentary group, demanded that a large proportion of the staff at the federal and state offices for the protection of the constitution be replaced. "This fish doesn’t just stink from the head," she told the "saarbrucker zeitung" (saturday). "In every "crime scene on sunday evenings, people think more creatively and comprehensively about who could be the tater."There is "disloyalty among employees toward their superiors and the state". However, people were needed "who do not cultivate secrecy, but a democratic understanding".

The central council of jews also demanded reforms in the constitutional protection service in view of the investigative mishaps. "These are trust-destroying circumstances," its president dieter graumann told the "rheinische post" (saturday) about the file destruction that has become known. The handling of files according to the motto "searched – found – shredded" was a "piece of the madhouse. Graumann also questioned whether each federal state really needs its own office for the protection of the constitution if they do not communicate with each other and certainly not with the federal government.

Meanwhile, saxony’s state office for the protection of the constitution denied media speculation that the office had also destroyed files related to the neo-nazi terrorist cell NSU.

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