Last Updated on September 22, 2022
German intelligence is running hundreds of fake neo-Nazi and right-wing extremist social media accounts under a wide-reaching online operation, which in some cases has incited real-world violence.
Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), along with state-level law enforcement and domestic intelligence agencies, are employing hundreds of “virtual agents” assigned to track and play an active role in criminal “phenomenon areas,” reports Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers.
The online undercover operations, which kicked into high gear in 2019, include a focus on radical Islamists and left-wingers, though, in Germany, this type of law enforcement activity tends to focus on cracking down against those deemed right-wing. In the vast majority of cases, the German newspaper reports, law enforcement is posing as neo-Nazis and extreme right-wingers.
Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have employed so many online intelligence operatives, German reporter Ronen Steinke says, that different departments around the country are having to coordinate with one another to avoid investigating each other.
In many cases, the “virtual agents” and their undercover peers are given a long leash and are allowed to commit crimes so long as they’re doing it on the government’s behalf.
“In order to be really credible, it is not enough to share or like what others say, you also have to make statements yourself,” says one of Germany’s undercover virtual agents, explaining the lengths that operatives will go to in order to crack down on right-wing thought and incite the criminal offenses used to lock-up the government’s political enemies.
“That means you have to bully and agitate,” the agent claimed.
Though the spy program has garnered comparisons to the Communist East German Stasi, a high-ranking BfV official told the German press that the agency’s undercover operations represent “the future of information gathering.”
Check out this whistle-blowing Twitter thread from German reporter Ronen Steinke below:
Viele Rechtsradikale ahnen wahrscheinlich gar nicht, hinter wie vielen Accounts in ihren Chatgruppen bereits Agenten stecken, die unter einer „Legende“ posten. In solche „virtuellen Agenten“ hat der Geheimdienst seit 2019 massiv investiert.
— Ronen Steinke (@RonenSteinke) September 18, 2022
Germany’s government has been known to take a hardline against right-wing activity, often seeming fairly benign groups as “extreme.” They’ve come under constant criticism for allowing extremist Muslim migrants to run roughshod over the native population, thanks to their open borders policies.
In fact, the efforts of the Biden Administration to harass, intimidate, and arrest Trump supporters have been compared by both its opponents and proponents to Germany’s “anti-extremist” operations.
As Germany’s government has forced an extreme-left agenda on its native population, the government has been increasingly seen as an aggressor.
Thanks to pro-Ukraine sanctions against Russia that have crippled Germany’s energy supply, a high-ranking member of the BfD recently warned that socialist Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government will be faced with civil unrest that makes anything seen in in recent German memory look like a kid’s birthday party.