Template:Infobox Government agency The Bundesnachrichtendienst (Template:IPA-de; Template:Lang-en; BND) is the foreign intelligence agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Chancellor's Office. Its headquarters are in Pullach near Munich, and Berlin (planned to be centralised in Berlin by 2014). The BND has 300 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 für Militärkunde" (Office for Military Sciences). The annual budget of the BND for 2009 was 460,000,000.[1]

The BND acts as an early warning system to alert the German government to threats to German interests from abroad. It depends heavily on wiretapping and electronic surveillance of international communications. It collects and evaluates information on a variety of areas such as international terrorism, WMD proliferation and illegal transfer of technology, organized crime, weapons and drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration and information warfare. As Germany’s only overseas intelligence service, the BND gathers both military and civil intelligence. However, the Kommando Strategische Aufklärung (Strategic Reconnaissance Command) of the German Armed Forces also fulfills this mission, but is not an intelligence service. There is close cooperation between the BND and the Kommando Strategische Aufklärung.

The domestic secret service counterparts of the BND are the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, BfV) and 16 counterparts at the state level Landesämter für Verfassungsschutz (State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution); there is also a separate military intelligence organisation, the Militärischer Abschirmdienst (lit. military shielding service, MAD).

The BND is a successor to the Gehlen Organization. The most central figure in its history was Reinhard Gehlen, its first President.

History[edit | edit source]

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CIA report on negotiations to establish the BND (1952)

The predecessor of the BND is the German eastern military intelligence agency during World War II, the Abteilung Fremde Heere Ost or FHO Section in the General Staff, led by Wehrmacht Major General Reinhard Gehlen. Its main purpose was to collect information on the Red Army. After the war Gehlen sided with the US occupiers. In 1946 he set up an intelligence agency informally known as the Gehlen Organization or simply "The Org" and recruited, initially quite modestly, some of his former co-workers. Many were operatives of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris' war-time Abwehr organization, but Gehlen also recruited from the former Sicherheitsdienst, SS and Gestapo. The latter recruits were later controversial because the SS and it's associated groups were notoriously linked to many Nazi atrocities during the war.[2] The organization worked at first almost exclusively for the CIA, which contributed funding, equipment, cars, gasoline and other materials. On 1 April 1956 the Bundesnachrichtendienst was created from the Gehlen Organization, and transferred to the West German government. Reinhard Gehlen became President of the BND and remained its head until 1968.[3]

Operations[edit | edit source]

In the first years of oversight of the Pullach operation by the State Secretary in the federal chancellery of Konrad Adenauer, the BND hustled along in the mode of its forerunner, the Gehlen Organization. For the average West German citizen, concerned at the time mainly with improving his existence, espionage was a questionable business, better left for shady characters. In that light, the BND racked up its initial East-West cold war successes by concentrating on East Germany. The BND’s reach encompassed the highest political and military levels of that regime. They knew the carrying capacity of every bridge, the bed count of every hospital, the length of every airfield, the width and level of maintenance of the roads that had to be traversed by Soviet armor and infantry divisions in a potential attack on the West. Almost every sphere of eastern life was known to the BND.[4]

Unsung analysts at Pullach with their contacts in the East, were figuratively flies on the wall in ministries and military conferences. When an East German army intelligence officer, a Lieutenant Colonel and BND agent, was suspected as spy by the Soviet KGB and was investigated and shadowed, the BND was positioned and able to inject forged reports to ascertain that the loose spy was actually the KGB investigator, who was then arrested by the Soviets and shipped off to Moscow.[5] Not knowing how long the caper would stay uncovered, the real spy was told to be ready for recall and he made his move to the west at the appropriate time.

The East German regime, however, fought back. With still unhindered flight to the west a possibility, infiltration started on a grand scale and a reversal of sorts took hold. During the early 1960s as many as 90% of the BND's lower level informants in East Germany were double agents for the East German security service, later known as Stasi.[6] Several informants in East Berlin reported in June and July 1961 of street closures, clearing of fields, accumulation of building materials and police and army deployments in specific parts of the eastern sector, as well as other measures that BND determined could lead to a division of the city. However, the agency was reluctant to report communist initiatives and had no knowledge of the scope and timing because of conflicting inputs. The erection of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961 thus came as a surprise, and BND’s performance in the political field was thereafter often wrong and remained spotty and unimpressive.[7]

"This negative view of BND was certainly not justified during ... [1967 and] 1968." BND’s military work "had been outstanding,"[7] and in certain sectors of the intelligence field the BND still showed brilliance: in Latin America and the Middle East it was regarded as the best informed secret service.[8]

The BND offered a fair and reliable amount of intelligence on Soviet and Soviet bloc forces in Eastern Europe, regarding the elaboration of a NATO warning system against any Soviet operations against NATO territory, in close cooperation with the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces). It also detected the deployment of Soviet missiles to Cuba in 1962, and subsequently warned the United States, resulting in the Cuban Missile Crisis.[9]

One high point of BND intelligence work was perhaps its early June 1967 forecast – almost to the hour – of the outbreak of the Six-Day War in the Middle East.

According to declassified transcripts of a United States National Security Council meeting on 2 June 1967, Secretary of State Dean Rusk was interrupted by CIA Director Richard Helms that he had reliable information – contrary to Rusk’s presentation – that the Israelis would attack on a certain day and time. Rusk shot back: "That is quite out of the question. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv assured me only yesterday that everything was normal." Helms replied: "I am sorry, but I adhere to my opinion. The Israelis will strike and their object will be to end the war in their favor with extreme rapidity." President Lyndon Johnson then asked Helms for the source of his information. Helms said: "Mr. President, I have it from an allied secret service. The report is absolutely reliable." Helms' information came from the BND.[8]

A further laudable success was BND’s activity during the Czech crisis in 1968. With Pullach cryptography fully functioning, the BND predicted an invasion of Soviet and other Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia. CIA analysts on the other hand did not support the notion of "fraternal assistance" by the satellite states of Moscow; and US ambassador to the Soviet Union, Llewellyn Thompson, quite irritated, called the secret BND report he was given "a German fabrication."[7] At 23:11 on 20 August 1968, BND radar operators first observed abnormal activity over Czech airspace. An agent on the ground in Prague called a BND out-station in Bavaria: "The Russians are coming." Warsaw Pact forces were in motion as forecast.[10]

However, the slowly sinking efficiency of BND in the last years of Reinhard Gehlen became evident. His refusal to correct reports with questionable content strained the organization’s credibility, and dazzling achievements became an infrequent commodity. A veteran agent remarked at the time, that the BND pond then contained some sardines, though a few years earlier the pond had been alive with sharks.[11]

The fact that the BND could score certain successes despite East German communist Stasi interference, internal malpractice, inefficiencies and infighting, was primarily due to select members of the staff who took it upon themselves to step up and overcome then existing maladies. Abdication of responsibility by Reinhard Gehlen was the malignancy; cronyism was still pervasive, even nepotism (at one time Gehlen had 16 members of his extended family on the BND payroll).[12] Only slowly did the younger generation then advance to substitute new ideas for some of the bad habits caused mainly by Gehlen's semi-retired attitude and frequent holiday absences.[12]

After Gehlen’s departure, his successor, Bundeswehr Brigadier General Gerhard Wessel, immediately called for a program of modernization and streamlining.[13] With political changes in the West German government and a reflection that BND was at a low level of efficiency, the service began to rebuild.

In 1986, the BND deciphered the report of the Libyan Embassy in East Berlin regarding the "successful" implementation of the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.

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.[citation needed]

Yet another scandal came to light in early 2006, when it was alleged that the BND supplied targeting information to American forces to facilitate the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The BND claimed that it only supplied information on so-called non-targets, targets which must not be attacked.

Following the 2006 Lebanon War. the BND mediated secret negotiations between Israel and Hezbollah, eventually leading up to the 2008 Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap.[14]

Another scandal is one where the BND (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 a parliamentary investigation committee ("Parlamentarischer Untersuchungsausschuss") to investigate the allegations. The affair quickly became controversial, and if the allegations are substantiated, it would be tantamount to a violation of freedom of speech which is protected under the German constitution.[citation needed]

In the beginning of 2008, it was revealed that the BND had managed to recruit excellent sources within Liechtenstein banks and had been conducting espionage operations in the principality since the beginning of 2000s. The BND mediated the German Finance Ministry's $7.3 million acquisition of a CD from a former employee of the LGT Group - a Liechtenstein bank owned by the country's ruling family. While the Finance Ministry defends the deal, saying it would result in several hundred millions of dollars in back tax payments, the sale remains controversial, as a government agency has paid for possibly stolen data.[1] See 2008 Liechtenstein tax affair.

In November 2008, three German BND agents were arrested in Kosovo for allegedly throwing a bomb at the European Union International Civilian Office, which oversees Kosovo's governance.[15] Later the previously unheard of "Army of the Republic of Kosovo" (ARK) had accepted responsibility for the bomb attack. Laboratory tests had shown no evidence of the BND agents’ involvement. However, the Germans were released only 10 days after they were arrested. It was suspected that the arrest was a revenge by Kosovo authorities for the BND report about organized crime in Kosovo which accuses Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, as well as the former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj of far-reaching involvement in organized crime. [16] [17]

Structure[edit | edit source]

Since 2009 the Bundesnachrichtendienst is divided into the following directorates:

  1. Gesamtlage / Führungs- und Informationszentrum (GL) (Situation Centre)
  2. Unterstützende Fachdienste (UF) (Specialized Supporting Services)
  3. Einsatzgebiete / Auslandsbeziehungen (EA) (Areas of Operation / Foreign Liaison)
  4. Technische Aufklärung (TA) (Signal Intelligence)
  5. Regionale Auswertung und Beschaffung A (LA) und Regionale Auswertung und Beschaffung B (LB) (Regional Analysis and Procurement, A/B countries)
  6. Internationaler Terrorismus und Internationale Organisierte Kriminalität (TE) (Terrorism and International Organised Crime)
  7. Proliferation, ABC-Waffen, Wehrtechnik (TW) (Proliferation, NBC Weapons)
  8. Eigensicherung (SI) (Security)
  9. Technische Unterstützung (TU) (Technical Support)
  10. Technische Entwicklung (TK) (Technical Development)
  11. Zentralabteilung (ZY) (Central Services)
  12. Gesamtumzug (UM) (Relocation [to Berlin])[18]

Presidents of the BND[edit | edit source]

The head of the Bundesnachrichtendienst is its President. The following persons have held this office since 1956:

Presidents of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)
Name (lived) Beginning of service End of service
1 Reinhard Gehlen (1902–1979) 1 April 1956 30 April 1968
2 Gerhard Wessel (1913–2002) 1 May 1968 31 December 1978
3 Klaus Kinkel (b. 1936) 1 January 1979 26 December 1982
4 Eberhard Blum (1919–2003) 27 December 1982 31 July 1985
5 Heribert Hellenbroich (b. 1937) 1 August 1985 27 August 1985
6 Hans-Georg Wieck (b. 1928) 4 September 1985 2 October 1990
7 Konrad Porzner (b. 1935) 3 October 1990 31 March 1996
8 Gerhard Güllich (b. 1937) (interim) 1 April 1996 4 June 1996
9 Hansjörg Geiger (b. 1942) 4 June 1996 17 December 1998
10 August Hanning (b. 1946) 17 December 1998 30 November 2005
11 Ernst Uhrlau (b. 1946) 1 December 2005 7 December 2011
12 Gerhard Schindler (b. 1952) 7 December 2011

The President of the BND is a federal Beamter paid according to BBesO order B, B6 (can be viewed here[dead link])

Deputy[edit | edit source]

The President of the BND has two deputies: one Vice-President and - since December 2003 - one Vice-President for military affairs. Prior to that time there was only one Vice-President. The following persons have held this office since 1957:

Vice-Presidents of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)
Name (lived) Beginning of service End of service
1 Hans-Heinrich Worgitzky (b. 1907) 24 May 1957 1967
2 Horst Wendland (1912–1968) 8 October 1968 (suicide)
3 Dieter Blötz (1931–1987) 4 May 1970 August 1979
4 Norbert Klusak (1936–1986) 1 April 1980 27 February 1986
5 Paul Münstermann (b. 1932) 1986 27 August 1994
6 Gerhard Güllich (b. 1937) (interim) 1994 1996
7 Rainer Kesselring 18 June 1996
8 Rudolf Adam (b. 1948) July 2001 31 March 2004
9 Werner Schowe (b. 1944), military affairs VP December 2003 2005
10 Rüdiger von Fritsch-Seerhausen 1 May 2004
11 Georg Freiherr von Brandis (b. 1948), military affairs VP 4 October 2005 February 2008
12 Arndt Freiherr von Freytag-Loringhoven
13 Dr. Géza Andreas Freiherr von Geyr

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Bundeshaushalt 2009: Einzelpläne - 04 Bundeskanzlerin und Bundeskanzleramt" (in German). Bundesfinanzministerium. 2009. http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/bundeshaushalt2009/pdf/vsp_3.pdf. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
  2. Höhne, Heinz & Zolling, Hermann, The General was a Spy. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc. 1972, p. 66
  3. Höhne & Zolling, p. 248
  4. Höhne & Zolling, p. 115
  5. Höhne & Zolling, p. 212
  6. "BND hatte Tausende Spione in der DDR" (in German). Netzeitung.de. 2007-09-24. http://www.netzeitung.de/deutschland/751973.html. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Höhne & Zolling, p. 266
  8. 8.0 8.1 Höhne & Zolling, p. 244
  9. http://www.hans-georg-wieck.com/data/50#%20Years%20BND.pdf
  10. Höhne & Zolling, p. 267
  11. Höhne & Zolling, p. 213
  12. 12.0 12.1 Höhne & Zolling, p. 245
  13. Höhne & Zolling, p. 255
  14. http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,444128,00.html
  15. Three German Spies Await Release At Kosovo Airport, RFE/RL, November 28, 2008
  16. German spy affair might have been revenge, Welt Online, November 30, 2008
  17. "BND Kosovo intelligence report, 22 Feb 2005" (in German). Wikileaks. 2008-12-09. http://wikileaks.org/wiki/BND_Kosovo_intelligence_report,_22_Feb_2005. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  18. BND Website, retrieved August 2010

External links and publications[edit | edit source]


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