A 51 years old German BfV intelligence operative was arrested today under the suspicion of planning an Islamist plot over his own agency’s HQ in Cologne. The suspect is an employee of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, BfV in short and after his recent arrest, he gave a partial confession, admitting that he was trying to recruit other Islamists over the internet to, let me quote, “strike non believers”.
The Telegraph (quoting German media) claims that the (unnamed) suspect already admitted he is guilty while in custody, i.e. that he was planning to bomb the agency’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany. Der Spiegel interviewed an intelligence official who stated that the suspect shared classified information about Germany’s domestic security agency BfV with third parties, thus leading to a potential threat to the office.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution talking with the AFP confirmed that the suspect currently in custody was in charge since April with monitoring potential radical Islamist cells in Germany and gathering intelligence in order to prevent future terrorist attacks on German soil.
During these months, he made “Islamist remarks” over the internet using a fake name and he disclosed sensitive intel about the agency during his online chat-sessions while trying to recruit other Islamists.
The alleged purpose of the operation was to lure radicals to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution,under the pretext of striking the non believers via organizing a large scale terrorist attack. The suspect’s family members were also interviewed by the police and intelligence officials, but they denied any knowledge of the respective plot or the man’s conversion to Islam 2 years ago, apparently followed by radicalization.
The suspect’s rogue online activities were discovered last month and online chat-logs between the suspect and various Islamists were also found. The BfV employee used several (fake) online-identities in his attempt to recruit radical Islamists in order to carry a large scale bomb attack on the agency’s headquarter “in the name of Allah”, end quote.
The suspect claimed to have pledged allegiance to various terrorist organizations, the likes of Mohamed Mahmoud, the Austrian leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Today’s arrest follows a number of high-profile attacks in Germany purported by radical Islamists, including a knife attack on a train in Wuerzburg, a suicide bombing at a music festival in Ansback and a machete attack in Reutlingen.
BfV estimates the number of radical Islamists in Germany at 40,000 and that figure includes 9200 hard core Salafists. Here’s what BfV’s chief Hans Georg Maasen told Reuters earlier in November:
“We remain a target of Islamic terrorism and we have to assume that Islamic State or other terrorist organisations will carry out an attack in Germany if they can,”