Fight against the right: friedrich wants more cooperation between authorities

"This is the key to success – and not a merger," the CSU politician said tuesday at the fall meeting of the federal criminal police agency (BKA) in wiesbaden. He also defended his plans for a new counter-terrorism center against criticism from the federal states. BKA president jorg ziercke also called for better networking of police and intelligence services at federal and state level.

The right-wing extremist zwickau terror cell was only busted a year ago. The german security authorities had not been able to track down the murdering and robbing trio for years. The group is accused of the murders of nine migrants and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

Friedrich complained that the authorities had followed the wrong trail, and that all those involved had underestimated the danger of right-wing terrorism. The various agencies had been working too much alongside each other and not sharing information sufficiently. Things must change. The minister pleaded for closer networking of the authorities and better coordination of information flows.

This approach has already proved successful with the joint defense center against right-wing extremism, the CSU politician said. The federal government and the states had set up the center last year after the terrorist cell was uncovered. Police and intelligence services exchange information on current dangers there. Such a center for the fight against islamist terror has already existed since 2004. Friedrich now wants to create a new defense center for other dangers, such as left-wing extremism and espionage.

The head of department will open the new central office on thursday. But he had only announced this at the end of last week. There was gross displeasure in the countries over the last-minute action. Friedrich countered that the defense center against right-wing extremism had been set up by the federal government and the federal states within a few weeks last year. He defended the hasty start: "we have no time to lose. Every day pays in the fight against extremism and terror."In the long term, the minister wants to merge the various centers into a single facility.

The BKA, together with the federal office for the protection of the constitution, is to coordinate the work in the new defense center. BKA chief ziercke also advocated more cooperation between german security agencies. No one agency can fight extremism and terrorism alone.

Ziercke admitted that there had been considerable mistakes and mishaps in the case of the terrorist cell "national socialist underground" (NSU). The judiciary, the police and the constitutional protection agency had been investigating extensively for years, "but unfortunately mainly in the wrong direction". But there was no intention behind it. "There were deficits in the exchange of information among the safety authorities at that time," said ziercke. This must have consequences.

Security experts to discuss fight against right-wing extremism and lessons from NSU case at BKA meeting until wednesday. On the final day, the president of the office for the protection of the constitution, hans-georg maaben, and the federal prosecutor, harald range, will speak, among others.

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