November 5, 2018 / 2:40 PM / 17 days ago

German domestic spy chief sacked for breaching neutrality rules

FILE PHOTO: Hans-Georg Maassen (L), President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer attend a parliamentary committee hearing of the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - The head of Germany’s domestic security service has been dismissed for a speech in which he criticized government parties, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Monday.

Seehofer said the speech made by Hans-Georg Maassen, in which he accused the Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, of “naivety” and harboring “radical left” elements, was unacceptable.

“I have asked the president to place the head of the domestic security service in early retirement,” Seehofer told a news conference. “The speech he gave contained unacceptable formulations which have made impossible a trusting relationship with me or other people involved.”

Germany’s ruling coalition had agreed in September to transfer spy chief Maassen to the Interior Ministry following accusations that he harbored far-right views. Maassen had questioned the authenticity of video footage showing radicals hounding migrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michelle Martin

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