Germany’s federal domestic intelligence service has allegedly declared the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party a suspected extremist group, allowing the agency to actively spy on the government’s opposition.
The revelations came on Wednesday via alleged sources within the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) who spoke to German media, rather than through an official announcement from the agency.
The sources claim that the BfV has declared the AfD, the official opposition in the German federal parliament, a “suspected case” of far-right extremism and a threat to the democratic order of the country, allowing the agency to secretly deploy undercover moles known as “V-Men” and wiretap the entire party and its members, Die Welt reports.
The anti-mass migration populist party has taken the matter to court and the legal case is still ongoing, something the BfV referred to, telling German media: “In view of the ongoing proceedings and out of respect for the court, the BfV does not comment publicly on this matter.”
Just Eight Months From Elections, German Populists Face Being Spied on By State Intelligence Agency https://t.co/DAekQsMSXI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 29, 2021
Alice Weidel, the AfD group leader in the federal parliament, commented on the report, saying: “The Office for the Protection of the Constitution is purely political on the issue of the AfD.”
“This is particularly remarkable given the upcoming state and federal elections this year,” Weidel said, adding: “I am sure that such a classification of the AfD will not stand before the Federal Constitutional Court.”
Jörg Meuthen and Tino Chrupalla, the party leaders, said the AfD would take legal action. They also said the BfV had given them no official confirmation.
The BfV had previously promised not to spy on the party or make any official announcements on the party’s status while a court case in the Administrative Court of Cologne was still ongoing.
AfD deputy leader Markus Frohnmaier went even further than his party colleagues, demanding that if the reports from the sources were true, BfV head Thomas Haldenwang should immediately resign.
“The Office for the Protection of the Constitution has promised the courts to remain silent pending a decision in the ongoing proceedings. Now, the BfV has leaked to the media that the AfD is a suspect,” Frohnmaier said.
“Less than two weeks before the state elections, these are the dirtiest and almost criminal methods of influencing the election. Mr Haldenwang must resign immediately,” he added.
German Election Committee Bans Two-Thirds of Populist Candidates From Regional Election https://t.co/rUArgn5QCd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 7, 2019
This is not the first time the German state has appeared to make attempts to interfere with the populist party ahead of an election. In 2019, for example, the German election committee banned two-thirds of the party’s candidates in the Saxony regional elections, citing technical discrepancies.