Two Berliners are traded for highly paid posts in the Federal Ministry of the Interior. As reported, Berlin’s chief of police, Barbara Slowik, has been under discussion since the beginning of the year as a possible new state secretary for Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD). Now another woman from Berlin is being traded for the post, as reported by the “Bild” newspaper.

It’s about Sawsan Chebli. Until the end of 2021, the 43-year-old was under Michael Müller (SPD) State Secretary in the Senate Chancellery for Civic Engagement, International Affairs and Berlin’s representative to the federal government. The Federal Ministry of the Interior has now replaced some top officials. One of four state secretary posts has been vacant for some time, namely that for migration, civil protection, constitutional law and public service.

As early as January, Slowik’s name was mentioned several times as a possible state secretary for security and the federal police. So far, Hans-Georg Engelke has been responsible for this as State Secretary, whom Faeser left in office. It should definitely be a woman so that the four posts are distributed equally. The political civil servants are paid according to salary level B11, which is 15,074 euros per month. The “occupation should take place promptly,” said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Interior.

According to Tagesspiegel information, a decision should be made by mid-July, i.e. before the summer break. The longer the position is vacant, the more speculation is now being made about the personnel. According to “Bild”, Chebli is even said to have ambitions to become Federal Interior Minister himself if Faeser should run for the SPD as the top candidate in the 2023 Hesse election.

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In addition to Chebli, the report also ominously mentions a “woman from Rhineland-Palatinate” as a possible new state secretary. Some of the speculation is also deliberately spread from the Federal Ministry of the Interior. There, some in the ministerial apparatus deliberately rely on Slowik, she has good contacts there and knows her way around.

The 56-year-old was taken from the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 2018 as part of a comprehensive replacement of chief posts in Berlin security authorities under the red-red-green Senate and made President of the Berlin police force.

Slowik herself came to the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 2002, where she was responsible for personnel and managers at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), from 2010 she was responsible for fundamental questions of combating terrorism, set up the joint federal and state counter-extremism and counter-terrorism center and coordinated the IT control for the Federal Ministry of the Interior, BKA, Federal Police and BfV.

When Slowik became police chief in Berlin, there was only one other police chief in North Rhine-Westphalia. In security circles, however, Slowik is not primarily treated as a state secretary, but above all as the new president of the federal police. The office is in Potsdam.

Dieter Romann, previously head of the federal agency with 50,000 employees, is likely to have a difficult time under the new political leadership in the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The 60-year-old is considered a tough dog. In 2018 he was on the plane when the federal police took Ali Bashar out of Iraq. The asylum seeker had raped and murdered 14-year-old Susanna F. in Wiesbaden, and the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq handed him over to the federal police.

In addition, like former head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans Georg Maassen, he was considered an energetic critic of former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s (CDU) refugee policy. In 2015, without instructions, he had the federal police take precautions to close the border.

Another argument in favor of Slowik is that another candidate for Romann’s successor is no longer in the running. Dagmar Busch has headed the federal police department in the Ministry of the Interior since 2018, and as head of department she had reorganized personnel management at the federal police.

But at the beginning of March, Busch moved to the Federal Chancellery, where she has been the department head and coordinator of the federal intelligence services ever since. Slowik himself is keeping a low profile. She is President of the Capital Police “with great joy and passion,” she said.

So far, none of the posts in the federal government have been offered to her, according to people around her. But it is also clear that when the Federal Ministry of the Interior calls, Slowik is unlikely to refuse. Chebli could not be reached for an inquiry on Tuesday morning.

During the day, however, Chebli responded to the reports on Twitter. There she explained: “In any case, I laughed heartily about the picture story, but as far as I can tell, it’s fictitious. I have no such plans and I don’t know anything about such considerations in the BMI.”

In fact, she wouldn’t have to know anything about such considerations if the BMI were to ask her before the summer break.