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AFP
November 6, 2018

Germany ousts domestic spy chief

World

AFP
November 6, 2018

BERLIN: Germany’s interior minister on Monday forced out domestic spy chief Hans-Georg Maassen, whose controversial comments about racist far-right protesters threw Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government into crisis.

Maassen, 55, was pushed into early retirement -- rather than into another government post as earlier planned -- after he exacerbated the controversy by blaming "radical left-wing forces" in Merkel’s coalition government for his troubles.

Maassen had also criticised Merkel’s "naive" immigration policy in a Warsaw farewell speech last month to fellow heads of European domestic intelligence organisations, it emerged at the weekend. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who had long defended Maassen, told a press conference Monday that the spy chief’s latest comments were "unacceptable" and had left him "personally disappointed".

Seehofer, himself under pressure over the row and over poor regional election results in Bavaria state last month, said he had asked German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to retire Maassen into inactive status.

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