A German intelligence officer has reportedly been arrested over a suspected Islamist plot to bomb the agency’s headquarters in Cologne.
The 51-year-old official was said to have made a “partial confession” to the plot, according to Der Spiegel.
The suspect attempted to pass on “sensitive information about the BfV (Germany’s domestic security agency), which could lead to a threat to the office”, an official told the newspaper.
“He is accused of making Islamist remarks online under a false name, and offering internal information during chats,” a BfV spokesman said.
The BfV said the man “behaved inconspicuously” prior to his arrest. He had, since April, been engaged in gathering intelligence on Islamist extremists in Germany, Der Spiegel said.
Online chats were apparently found between the suspect and other Islamists in which he attempted to recruit them to the intelligence agency to mount an attack on “non-believers”, carrying out a bomb attack on the spy HQ “in the name of Allah”.
He used several different names online and his activities were uncovered about a month ago.
The man’s family reportedly knew nothing of his conversion to Islam two years ago and subsequent radicalisation.
The suspect was thought to have pledged allegiance to Mohamed Mahmoud, the Austrian leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group.
The BfV estimates there are about 40,000 Islamists in Germany, including 9,200 ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists, Hans-Georg Maassen, who leads the agency, told Reuters in an interview earlier this month.
Presumably those numbers don’t include the more than one million – mostly fighting age male – Muslims Angela Merkel has allowed into the country in just the last year.
From Der Spiegel (via Google translate) – Wurden die Späher selbst ausgespäht? Nach SPIEGEL-Informationen ist im Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz ein islamistischer Maulwurf aufgeflogen.
“The spies themselves were spied for mirror information, an islamist mole was found in the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution”
The man has now filed a partial confession. According to him, his goal was to infiltrate the Federal Office and gather information for an explosive strike on the main building in the Cologne district of Chorweiler. It is therefore against him because of the suspicion of the preparation of a serious state-endangering violence.
The man, a bank clerk and a family father, had not been stopped by the constitutional protection until April 2016 in order to observe the Islamic scene in Germany. According to the authorities, he was “inconspicuous” in the application process, during training and in his application.
At the same time, however, he obviously meticulously combined his secrecy. In his possession the investigators found storage media with corresponding information, for example, on assignments and deployments. This he revealed on the Internet under different alias accounts against a chat partner, as the public prosecutor Düsseldorf informed the SPIEGEL.
In the chat, he is to be recognized as a BfV employee and have offered to invite like-minded to the Federal Office, in order to be able to attack the “unbelievers”. This is “safe in the sense of Allah.” What he did not know: his chat partner was himself a member of the constitutional protection. There are so far no indications that he could be open to other like-minded people.
According to SPIEGEL information even the family of the accused knew nothing of its conversion to Islam, which is to be done in 2014 by telephone.