Head of the German domestic intelligence agency (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, who cast doubts about the authenticity of the footage allegedly depicting men systematically harassing and assaulting migrants in Chemnitz and media reports about "pogroms," has come under fire from German politicians and scrutiny by the Bundestag.
Stephan Weil, the Lower Saxony prime minister, questioned whether Maassen's words were deliberate and suggested he could be covering up for right-wing extremists, who are allegedly active in Chemnitz.
Opposition politicians in Berlin also took the opportunity to cast doubt on whether Maassen is fit for his post. Parliamentary party leader for the Green party, Katrin Göring-Eckardt, said that the intelligence chief's comments showed that he is the not proper man for the job. According to her, Maassen ignored evidence of "public displays of anti-constitutional symbols and acts of violence," that allegedly took place in Chemnitz during anti-migrant protests.
The head of the Left party, Katja Kipping, backed Göring-Eckardt's words on Maassen being unfit for his post. Dresden prosecutor Wolfgang Klein, in an interview with Zeit, slammed the BfV chief's comments on the authenticity of the video footage as not based on examination and declared that it is credible evidence.
Apart from being criticized by politicians, Maassen will now have to face a Bundestag committee on intelligence and will be asked to justify his comments on the alleged Chemnitz attacks, according to Reuters, citing domestic affairs expert Armin Schuster from the Christian Democratic Party. Schuster reportedly expressed hope that the intelligence chief will present facts to support what many are calling unfounded accusations.
In an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper, Maassen said there is a "good reason" to believe that reports about protesters chasing down migrants in Chemnitz were "deliberate misinformation" aimed to distract public attention. The BfV did not elaborate on why he suspected the media reports were fake.
Protests ignited in Chemnitz after two migrants — one each from Syria and Iraq — allegedly stabbed a local citizen to death following a conflict on the sidelines of a festival. Protesters demanded the ruling CDU party deal with what they claim are increasing numbers of crimes committed by migrants who flooded into Germany beginning in 2015. Some German media outlets showed video they claimed to reveal right-wing protesters chasing down migrants during the protests. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the videos showed "targeted harassment."