November 5, 2018 / 2:27 PM / a year ago

German domestic spy chief sacked for breaching neutrality rules

FILE PHOTO: German Interior Minister and Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer gestures as he speaks to the media after Bavaria election loss, in Berlin, Germany, October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

BERLIN (Reuters) - The head of Germany’s domestic security service has been dismissed for a speech in which he criticised 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 harbouring “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 harboured 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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