′Imminent threat′ to US troops in Germany dismissed | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 20.01.2020
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'Imminent threat' to US troops in Germany dismissed

A leaked military intelligence report from the United States over the weekend had suggested that a man from Jordan could target US forces in Germany. But officials say the threat was quickly dismissed as nonexistent.

US troops based in Germany faced an "imminent attack" from a "Jordanian extremist currently located in Germany" over the weekend. the magazine Newsweek reported on Sunday.

The US Army Europe's press office confirmed the report to DW, but added that the threat was determined as not imminent.

"We can confirm a potential threat was identified and investigated Saturday night," the office reported in an email to DW. "German and US officials were consulted and no imminent threat was found to exist. We'd like to remind everyone to stay vigilant and be aware of their surroundings."

The story emerged after a US soldier posted a screenshot to Facebook of a "spot report" from the US's Germany-based 66th Military Intelligence Brigade.

"The source of information stated the attack would be carried out by an unnamed Jordanian extremist currently located in Germany near an unknown US military base," the document in the screenshot seen by DW read. "The unknown Jordanian was described as a loyalist to the Jordanian kinglet and recently advocated killing US soldiers in Germany." (Newsweek reports that "kinglet" is a derogatory term for Jordan's King Abdullah II — referring to him as a puppet of the United States.)

The document added that a spot report was a "preliminary report on ambiguous circumstances, not fully evaluated information," intended to alert commanders and staff to potential threats.

Read more: US military in Germany

Enhanced security

There was also some confusion over what target exactly the man, if he existed, was aiming for, as the report named only a "Tower Barracks." The United States has two sets of Tower Barracks in Germany: one near the town of Dülmen, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and one at the US Army Garrison Bavaria in Grafenwöhr.

A US military source who was familiar with the matter said spot reports are frequently circulated among personnel, though they are not intended to be posted on social media, and that this specific threat probably never existed, given that it was dismissed the same day.

The source added that the US military bases in Germany remain at the standard security level, "Bravo." Moving to "Charlie" would indicate that an attack was considered likely.

Nevertheless, on Saturday the Army Garrison Bavaria posted a notification on its Facebook page stating that security had recently been enhanced, in line with military policy following the recent missile attack on a US base in Iraq.

"Expect increased force protection measures at Tower Barracks and Rose Barracks," the post read. "The safety and security of our community and installations remain our top priority. Remain vigilant. If you see something, say something." 

A German Defense Ministry spokesman said the Bundeswehr does not comment on security measures at its army bases.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry would not comment on the case mentioned in the Newsweek report or whether German officials had been consulted, as the US Army had reported. But, he added, "German security forces are very vigilant, especially following the events at the beginning of the year in Iran. There is still an abstract threat, including on US bases in Germany, but that hasn't changed in the last few days or months."

The US maintains one of its largest overseas military presences in Germany, with two Air Force bases and five Army bases.

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