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The Bundesnachrichtendienst (Federal Intelligence Service, BND) is the foreign intelligence agency of the German government, under the control of the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery). Its headquarters are in Pullach near Munich, and Berlin (planned to be centralised in Berlin by 2011). The BND has 200 locations in Germany and foreign countries. In 2005, the BND employed around 6,050 people, 10 % of them Bundeswehr soldiers; those are officially employed by the "Amt ffr Milittrkunde" (Office for Military Sciences), which is just a camouflage name. The annual budget of the BND exceeds > 430,000,000.

The domestic secret service counterpart of the BND are the Bundesamt fr Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, BfV) and 16 counterparts at the federal state level (Landesbehhrden ffr Verfassungsschutz or State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution); there is also a separate military intelligence organisation, the Militrischer Abschirmdienst (lit. military screening service, MAD).


The predecessor of the BND is the German eastern military intelligence agency, Abteilung Fremde Heere Ost, led by General Reinhard Gehlen. Its main purpose was to collect information on the Soviet Union. In 1946 Gehlen set up an intelligence agency informally known as the Gehlen Org on behalf of US forces, and recruited many of his former co-workers. Many also were recruited from the former Sicherheitsdienst, SS and Gestapo. On 1 April 1956 the Bundesnachtendienst was created from the Gehlen Org, and was transferred to the German government. Reinhard Gehlen remained President of the BND until 1968.

During the Cold War, as many as 90% of the BND's informants in East Germany were double agents run by the Stasi.

In 2005 a public scandal erupted (dubbed the Journalistenskandal, Journalists scandal) over revelations that the BND had in the mid 1990s placed under surveillance a number of German journalists, in an attempt to discover the source of information leaks from the BND.

Yet another scandal came to light in early 2006, when it was revealed that agents of the BND allegedly supplied targeting information to U.S. forces to facilitate the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The BND assures that it only conveyed so-called non-targets, locations that must not be attacked.

The former is one where the BND has (partially) admitted to using journalists to spy on fellow journalists. This supposedly was done, to protect the security and authenticity (i.e. the truth) of the BND's investigations. It was quickly decided to set up an investigation committee ("Untersuchungsausschuss"), to investigate the allegations. The affair has become very heated, because if the allegations are substantiated, it would be tantamount to a violation of freedom of speech.


The Bundesnachrichtendienst is divided into 8 branches, with different operational intelligence tasks.

Operative Aufklrung / Human Intelligence

Technische Aufklrung / Signals Intelligence

Auswertung / Analysis

Steuerung und zentrale Dienstleistung / Administration

Organisierte Kriminalitt & Internationaler Terrorismus / Organized Crime & International Terrorism

Technische Untersttzung / Technical Support

Schule des BND / BND School

Sicherheit / Security & Defense


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