The German authorities’ failure to detect the National Socialist Underground or to investigate a potential right-wing motive behind the killings and bombings covering more than a decade has caused a severe crisis within the country’s security agencies. The former Prosecutor General called the NSU murder series Germany’s “September 11” (FAZ 2012b) and the series of reported misconduct or lack of professionalism involving numerous different agencies continues. The structure of the German security agencies contains two main types of organizations: first, the criminal police sections responsible for counter-terrorism and politically motivated crimes (the so-called Staatsschutzabteilungen – state protection divisions) with repressive or executive functions; and second, the intelligence departments called Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutzämter) with preventative and investigative functions. Both types can be found on the federal and state level (thirty-four agencies in total). On the federal level, the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) with its responsible division for counter-terrorism represents the first type and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV) represents the second type. On the state level, the State Criminal Police Offices (Landeskriminalämter, LKA) have divisions for politically motivated crimes, and separate state offices for the protection of the constitution (Landesämter für Verfassungsschutz, LfV) exist. In seven German states (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Saarland and Saxony) these LfVs are organized in their own states offices, while in the remaining nine states, the LfVs are sections of the respective ministries of the interior. In addition, Germany has one military intelligence service (Militärischer Abschirmdienst, MAD) and a foreign intelligence service (Bundesnachrichtendienst,). The structural separation between intelligence and the police was a consequence of the National Socialist secret polices in the Second World War. Legally very high barriers exist to prevent all these institutions from sharing too much personal information as part of the German data and privacy protection legislation. However, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks a new joint anti-terrorism center was established to fight Islamic extremism and jhadist terrorism (Gemeinsames Terrorismusabwehrzentrum, GTAZ), which started to operate in December 2004. In this center, representatives of all security agencies exchange

limited information on suspected terrorists. A similar center, the Gemeinsames Abwehrzentrum Rechtsextremismus (GAR) was established in November 2011 after the discovery of the NSU. In November 2012, the GAR was restructured and renamed the Gemeinsames Extremismus-und Terrorismusabwehrzentrum (GETZ) to include left-wing extremism, immigrant extremism, espionage and proliferation. One highly controversial aspect of the German intelligence services is the use of so-called “trusted people” (Vertrauenspersonen – V-Personen/V-Männer/V-Frauen). These individuals are paid informants and are different to undercover investigators as they are active members of the extremist or terrorist groups and are approached and – ideally – convinced to secretly work for the intelligence service and provide them with insider information. In return, these V-people receive monthly salaries and reimbursements of costs (e.g., membership fees, costs for cloths, music and travel). Numerous former informants are known who have actively participated in violent crimes or even terrorism and in addition it was argued by critics of that system that the funds paid by an agency of the democratic state directly support extremist and terrorist organizations. With the NSU case, a very high number of additional critical aspects regarding the V-person system has been made public, such as the unregulated and uncontrolled use of these informants, partially chaotic information handling, multiple payment of single informants by different agencies, exemption from punishment for crimes, and most importantly the lack of efficiency (Diehl, Röbel & Stark 2013). This last aspect became especially clear as almost all intelligence services had paid informants in the close periphery of the NSU but were not able to obtain any information leading to their whereabouts or take notice of their crimes. In addition, German criminal police agencies on the federal and state level never considered a right-wing motive behind the murders and continued to investigate into “organized crime of immigrants” (Pidd 2011a; Spiegel 2011a), which was one of two main reasons for this extraordinary failure found in the aftermath of the NSU discoveries: widespread racism and ignorance regarding the potential threat from the Far-Right. A second major reason was the total lack of communication between all these agencies regarding crimes, perpetrators, information from informants and so on (Högl & Weßnigk 2016). Although the German police, intelligence and military has traditionally struggled with right-wing extremist members and the institutional counter-measures are partially inadequate (e.g., see Koehler 2015), the various inquiry commissions could not find proof of institutional racism and organized support (or deliberate ignorance) for right-wing crimes (e.g., Högl & Weßnigk 2016). Hundreds of files about the trio and the informants in their periphery were destroyed by the services immediately after the NSU’s discovery. Six heads of intelligence and police agencies had to step down in consequence and eight parliamentary inquiry commissions (two on the federal level and six on the state level) were initiated. It seems clear that a comprehensive reformation of the German security system is necessary and the first steps were taken in December 2011 with the new coordination center directed against Right-Wing Extremism.