Hans-George Maassen, former head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic security agency. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


Germany’s security service goes after its own ex-leader


Hans-Georg Maaßenn, the former head of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), is now in the sights of his own organisation.

German news outlet Bild reported that the German intelligence agency apparently has an “interest” in its ex-leader. The agency requested data about Maaßenn, who is also a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician.

Some say ongoing investigations into the Reich Citizens’ Movement, or  Reichsbürger, might have something to do with the agency’s move. Reichsbürger is a label for several anti-constitutional/revisionist groups and individuals in Germany.

The BfV apparently requested information about Maaßen from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

“I have heard about the knowledge inquiry to the BKA,” Maaßen told Bild, adding that he was “outraged” by it and that he would “demand information about the data my former colleagues store about me”.

On Twitter, now X, he stated that “eavesdropping on a phone conversation between a witness in a criminal case and his lawyer is illegal”.

He also said that if the story was true then, “It is obvious that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is no longer being used to protect the Constitution, but is being misused to protect the government and to fight and politically persecute critics of the government.”

A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior, responsible for the Protection of the Constitution office and BKA, reportedly did not deny the data enquiry concerning Maaßen. “We refrain from commenting on individual matters solely due to reasons of personal protection,” she told the newspaper.

It’s reported that BKA investigators had monitored conversations of a Frankfurt-based entrepreneur who was expected to serve as a witness in the trial centred around Heinrich XIII, Prince of Reuss, and his associated group. Following a search of his residence, the entrepreneur allegedly contacted Maaßen via telephone.

On December 7, 2022, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office apprehended 25 suspects including Prince Reuss in raids across Germany, Austria and Italy. They are accused of being part of a terrorist organisation and plotting a violent overthrow of government. Allegedly, Prince Reuss was seen as the ringleader of the Reichsbürger, who are said to refute the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The main suspects have been in custody for more than eight months on charges of being members of a terrorist organisation. They are accused of planning a coup. A formal indictment has not yet been filed.

Maaßen has been at the centre of controversy before. He denied Germans hunted down “foreign-looking” people in the 2018 Chemnitz protests, going against the official narrative, and later criticised what he said was the previous government’s “naive”, and “left-wing” security and migration policies. Socialists and Greens have been highly critical of him ever since. The rioting in the city of Chemnitz broke out after word spread that an Iraqi and a Syrian asylum seeker were suspected in a knife attack that killed a German man.

Maaßen also warned against left-wing and far-left activists, who think “all means are justified” in the fight against the Right. He further claimed that the phrase “conspiracy theorist” had been “invented and used by certain foreign intelligence agencies to discredit political opponents”.

When he made statements about “anti-white racism”, the CDU started a procedure to oust him from the party but that ultimately failed.