German intel chief to step up efforts against far right

BERLIN (AP) — The new head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says he plans a significant expansion next year of the department that watches far-right extremists.

Thomas Haldenwang told Friday’s edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily that he wants a 50-percent increase in the department’s size next year, bringing it closer to the size of the section that deals with Islamic extremism. He wouldn’t give staff figures, saying that they are secret.

Haldenwang said that “there has been a new dynamic in right-wing extremism for some time.” He added that it’s no longer always the case that “normal demonstrators” keep their distance from extremists.

Haldenwang took over the BfV agency when predecessor Hans-Georg Maassen was removed after appearing to downplay far-right violence against migrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz.

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