Thursday’s announcement came three months after Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer disbanded one of four elite German special forces combat companies, the KSK, as it was considered riddled with extremists .
Investigators had discovered a treasure trove of Nazi memorabilia and a vast arsenal of ammunition and explosives stolen from the property of a sergeant major who had served in the KSK since 2001. Several soldiers from his company had launched Hitler salutes and sang Nazi rock at a party, according to a witness statement.
Overall, the Military Counter-Intelligence Service, widely known by the acronym MAD, is investigating more than 600 soldiers for far-right extremism. Some 48,000 cartridges and 62 kilograms, or about 137 pounds, of explosives disappeared from the KSK.
Officials with knowledge of his departure said that Mr. Gramm’s personal integrity was not in doubt. But under its watch – and despite a series of internal reforms – the military counterintelligence service has failed in its mission of monitoring and detecting extremism.
Concerns about far-right infiltration even turned to the agency itself: A high-ranking investigator from his extremism unit was suspended in June after sharing confidential material from an investigation into a KSK soldier with a contact inside the KSK.