Bundeswehr rejected 63 applicants because of security concerns

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As a consequence of right-wing extremist incidents, the Military Counter-Intelligence Service examines every applicant. Most of them are apparently inconspicuous.

According to a media report, the Bundeswehr has rejected 63 applicants in the past two years because of security concerns. The newspapers of the Funke media group (Online Sonntag, Print Montag) reported that 21 neo-Nazis and “Reichsbürger”, twelve Islamists, two left-wing extremists as well as several criminals and “violent people” were among them, referring to an answer of the Ministry of Defense to a parliamentary question of the left-wing faction.

Two other applicants are currently being examined for membership in the Identitarian Movement, which is classified as extreme right-wing by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In six cases, the suspicion of “foreigner extremism” has been confirmed. Between July 2017 and June 2019, the responsible Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) controlled a total of 43,775 applicants according to the report.

So-called Reich citizens do not recognise the state and German laws and refuse to pay taxes, social security contributions and fines.

As a consequence of right-wing extremist incidents, in 2017 the Ministry of Defense had called in the MAD, which has been screening every applicant ever since. According to the information, most of them were inconspicuous. In 1173 cases, however, the security guards of the Military Counter-Intelligence Service took a closer look at the applicants.

Left-wing politician Ulla Jelpke suspected that the security review had a deterrent effect on neo-Nazis. At the same time, she criticized that soldiers who had been serving for some time had not been affected by the regular check. “How successful the new procedure is, will prove itself only in some years. The yardstick is the question of whether the number of right-wing extremist incidents or violent comrade abuse in the Bundeswehr is declining. (dpa)

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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