Politicians from several parties are pressuring Hans-Georg Maassen for explanations after he denied far-right extremists had "hounded" foreigners at Chemnitz protests. Maassen is to face parliamentarians this week.
The premier of the state of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil of the Social Democrats, told Funke Media Group newspapers that "question marks were starting to mount up" with him as to whether Maassen was up to his job.
In comments published Saturday, Weil said it was troubling that Maassen had suggested that the video might be deliberate misinformation without producing evidence for his claim.
"Otherwise, such comments fuel suspicion that he is protecting right-wing extremists," Weil said.
Weil's comments echo those made by Green and Left politicians.
"I don't expect any trustworthy assessments from Mr. Maassen any more," said Katrin Göring-Eckardt, the parliamentary party leader for the Greens. "The fact that he only commented on a video, but not on the acts of violence and the public displays of anti-constitutional symbols in Chemnitz, shows me that Mr. Maassen is not up to the job."
The chairwoman of the Left Party, Katja Kipping, also stated that Maassen was "not tenable in this position."
Prosecutors leading the investigation into the far-right demonstration in Chemnitz have also said there was no evidence that a video showing far-right attacks was fake.
Dresden prosecutor Wolfgang Klein told Die Zeit newspaper on Saturday that his office considered the video as genuine evidence. He said suggestions by Maassen that the video may have been shot elsewhere or at another time were not borne out by examination of the footage.
The domestic affairs expert for Merkel's Christian Democrats, Armin Schuster, told Reuters news agency that Maassen would answer parliamentarians' questions about his comments at special meetings next week, including in front of a parliamentary committee that oversees Germany's spy agencies. He said he hoped for "more facts than suppositions" and a chance for Maassen to justify himself.
Maassen, who took up his position as BfV chief in 2012, has recently also been criticized for unexplained meetings with members of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. A book by a former AfD member has even alleged that during one such meeting, with former AfD chairwoman Frauke Petry, Maassen gave tips for avoiding monitoring by the BfV. Maassen has denied the claims.