Spy Games

Germany’s security agency has had its knuckles rapped. And rightly so. I can only hope that those in charge are held to account.

The agency announced a week or so ago that it was investigating the country’s primary right-wing party, AFD (Alliance fur Deutschland) , because of concerns about some elements in the party. Which you would think was logical and proper for a security service to do. 

I couldn’t believe though when they made the investigation public. During an election campaign. (I see the campaign signs everywhere, though since I don’t qualify to vote I haven’t actually found out what sort of election this is – but the AFD is involved, I’ve received campaign literature in the mail.)

In a democracy the security apparatus needs to remain neutral, serving whatever government wins an election to the best of its ability. It should not be trying to influence the vote, which the announcement certainly has done to some extent. I wonder if it will drive people to or from the party.

The investigation has now been dropped by court order, the court noting the impropriety of publicizing the investigation. It will be interesting to see how the AFD fares when the votes are counted on Sunday night. 

Members of political parties are not above corruption and malfeasance, even in democracies. Usually though we find out about them when charges are laid. And investigations are supposed to be kept quiet by investigators when they take place during an election campaign.

Germans may be a little more sensitive on the subject of right-wing parties than other countries. There’s a bad history there. Perhaps because of that history the AFD has attracted extra scrutiny.

You would think though, in the absence of proven wrongdoing, they would leave the decision to the voters. Or are the people not to be trusted with such decisions?

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