Head of German intelligence agency resigns | News | DW | 02.07.2012
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Head of German intelligence agency resigns

The president of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, known as the Verfassungsschutz, has resigned his post. Heinz Fromm had come under pressure for his agency's handling of a high-profile neo-Nazi investigation.

Heinz Fromm has been in charge of Germany's domestic intelligence agency since 2000. He offered his resignation to Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich on Monday, and the conservative minister accepted early in the afternoon.

Fromm came under pressure last Wednesday when it emerged that members of his agency had shredded files that were tied to a high-profile investigation into a neo-Nazi cell in Germany.

The small group, calling themselves the National Socialist Underground (NSU), had evaded capture for over a decade - killing nine foreigners living in Germany and one German policewoman in that period.

"The circumstances in connection with the NSU must not be allowed to overshadow that the domestic inteligence agency has enjoyed enormous success in making Germany safer in the past years under President Fromm's leadership," Friedrich told reporters in Berlin. "For this I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Fromm, whose personal integrity is beyond doubt."

The small terror cell was discovered effectively by chance last November after a botched robbery led police to one of their hideouts.

The German agency initially said that the files were due to be shredded in accordance with routine policy, which was not the case. They were destroyed in Cologne last November, shortly after it became apparent that neo-Nazis had committed the murders between 2000 and 2007. Interior Minister Friedrich had promised a swift explanation.

msh/ng (AFP, dpa, dapd)