The German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag" reported on Sunday that it obtained documents showing that the German chancellor Angela Merkel was briefed on the fact that Germany's refugee agency improperly granted hundreds of asylum requests to known extremists, radicals and people suspected of belonging to terrorist groups, and choose to do nothing.
That scandal first broke in April, with reports that a former German Federal Office for Migration and Asylum (BAMF) official at the Bremen department was under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes from at least 1,200 asylum seekers between 2013 and 2016. Five other officials at the workplace are also being probed for possibly taking part in the scheme.
The situation worsened earlier this month, when BAMF announced that it would be reviewing some 18,000 refugee cases in Bremen dating back as far as 2000, stating that it had discovered the approval of up to 2,000 applications between 2013 and 2016 that didn't match the government's sanctuary criteria. Days later, the office added 10 additional field offices to its investigation list.
Germany's Interior Ministry admitted that at least two extremists were granted asylum thanks to a flawed processing system at the BAMF Bremen office. Another 44 approved refugees were also found to have extremist/terrorist ties that should have disqualified them from being granted asylum in Germany.
The government's confirmation came on the back of an investigation by "Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland" (German Editorial Network), a journalism association, which found that the Bremen office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) had allowed more than 80 migrants to enter Germany since 2000 who instead should have been flagged to authorities because of their terrorist links or extremist backgrounds.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was left reeling from the BAMF scandal on Sunday, after the migration agency's former head effectively accused her of ignoring his warnings about the breakdown of Germany's asylum granting system.
"The failure lies in the inaction (of the government) when the challenges that Germany would face with the arrival of the refugees became clear," Frank-Jürgen Weise, who headed the BAMF from late 2015 to the end of 2016, told news German weekly Der Spiegel. "The crisis could have been prevented."
“Merkel is avoiding responsibility. She is silent, does nothing and wants to ride out the loss of control at BAMF,” SPD vice chairman Ralf Stegner told journalists last week.
Rainer Wendt, head of one of Germany’s biggest police unions, said the new revelations were merely the tip of the iceberg. “The feeling of security has been collapsing and now people feel the state has lost control. There are hundreds of thousands of people here of whom we don’t know who they are,” Mr. Wendt said. “This is a giant risk. No country in the world would tolerate this.”
Angela Merkel had been aware that extremists and people who were a security risk with possible links to terrorist groups have been coming to Germany, and were being granted Asylum in Germany, at least since 2017 and probably much sooner than that, and yet Merkel choose to do nothing, and even tried to bury the issue which has now exploded all over Germay (figuratively speaking, hopefully).