German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday canceled a trip to the United States and summoned top military officials to discuss a spate of army scandals after the arrest of an officer suspected of planning a racially motivated attack.
Von der Leyen, who has blasted “weak leadership” across the military, told her top 100 generals and admirals to come to Berlin on Thursday to discuss the latest case involving a first lieutenant and several sexual assault and harassment scandals.
“We have to ask systematically how someone with such clear right-wing extremist views, who writes a master’s paper with clearly nationalistic ideas … could continue to pursue a career in the Bundeswehr,” von der Leyen told reporters.
She said it was important to address the “burning questions” of “where leadership and accountability have failed … and why” but warned that the process could take weeks and months.
Germany’s chief federal prosecutor’s office on Tuesday took over the case of the 28-year-old lieutenant and a 25-year-old student from state prosecutors, citing “preliminary indications of preparations for a serious attack against the state”.
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