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Intelligence report on far-right AfD leaked online

Rebecca Staudenmaier
January 28, 2019

Although parts of the intelligence report had already circulated through German media, the full AfD report reveals an exhaustive analysis of the party's rhetoric as well as members' links to extremist groups.

Björn Höcke speaks at a AfD party conference
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Reichel

A classified intelligence report on the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) was posted online in its entirety [link in German] on Monday by bloggers with the independent news outlet netzpolitik.org.

The publication of the report, which was an assessment by Germany's domestic intelligence agency (BfV), sparked outrage among AfD ranks. The party unsuccessfully appealed to have the report released to them.

What the full report reveals:

  • The goal of the assessment was to uncover the extent of the AfD's ties to right-wing extremist organizations;
  • the extent to which remarks by party leaders violate the constitution;
  • and to determine whether further observation or surveillance is needed.
  • The report reveals "factual indications" that there is an extremist movement within the AfD — but not enough to justify putting the entire party under surveillance.

  • Prominent AfD politicians use "right-wing extremist discourse," telling supporters that Germany is at risk of "extinction" due to multiculturalism.
  • Statements by party co-leader Alexander Gauland and the leader of the AfD in Thuringia, Björn Höcke, "make it clear that their thinking is based on an ethnic-biological or ethnic-cultural understanding" of what constitutes the people of Germany, the report stated.
  • For Höcke, "someone is only German if they are ethnically German," the report said.
  • AfD leaders have not clearly distanced themselves from the radical Identitarian movement, which is currently under surveillance.

AfD calls for consequences over leak:

Following the report's publication, the AfD said the new head of the BfV, Thomas Haldenwang, should face "disciplinary action" over the leak.

Alice Weidel, who co-heads the AfD's parliamentary group, dismissed the findings of the report as "thin and unserious."

In a Facebook post, she wrote "you are already suspected of disregarding human dignity [...] if you voice doubts about multiculturalism or even if you distinguish between German citizens and the rest of the world."

She also criticized the BfV for not releasing the classified report to the party, accusing the agency of "allowing itself to be instrumentalized by partisan politics."

Read more: Far-right AfD lawmakers walk out of Holocaust commemoration in Bavaria

The AfD's Björn Höcke is seen as one of the main ethnic-nationlist forces in the party and has been criticized for his remarks on the HolocaustImage: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Schutt

German ministry says leak is 'regrettable': A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said it was "regrettable whenever such documents reach the public." According to news agency DPA, the spokesman added that he didn't know how netzpolitik.org got ahold of the report, but said there could be criminal consequences.

The AfD under scrutiny: Earlier in January, the BfV said that as a result of its assessment, it would begin more closely scrutinizing the party's youth organization and as well as a wing of the party linked to Höcke called "Der Flügel." The BfV stopped short, however, of placing the whole party under surveillance.

Is that the end of the matter? One of the conclusions reached the by the report was that further investigation is needed to determine how widespread "anti-democratic patterns" are within the AfD.

A return to the bad old days?


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