Lic. Hilda Pulido
The Bundesnachrichtendienst is the foreign intelligence agency of the German government, under the control of the Chancellors Office. Its headquarters are in Pullach near Munich, and Berlin (planned to be centralised in Berlin by 2011). The BND has 300 locations in Germany and foreigncountries. 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 exceeds € 430,000,000.
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 electronicsurveillance 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 Commando) 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 theConstitution, BfV) and 16 counterparts at the state level Landesämter für Verfassungsschutz or State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution); there is also a separate military intelligence organisation, the Militärischer Abschirmdienst (military screening service, MAD).
The predecessor of the BND is the Third Reich German eastern military intelligence agency, Abteilung Fremde Heere Ost inthe General Staff, led by Wehrmacht 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 Organization, and recruited many of his former co-workers. Many also were recruited from the former Sicherheitsdienst, SS and Gestapo. The organisation mainly worked for the CIA, which contributedmoney and other materials. On 1 April 1956 the Bundesnachrichtendienst was created from the Gehlen Organization, and was transferred to the German government. Reinhard Gehlen remained President of the BND until 1968.
Following the division of Germany after World War II, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) sought to create an intelligence community far different from the onethat had existed under the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. Germany’s intelligence network, which is overseen by a parliamentary committee, is loosely organized. The BND (Federal Intelligence Service), which is responsible primarily for foreign intelligence, is part of the chancellor’s office and reports to an intelligence coordinator. The BND’s staff, which peaked at more than 7,500 people during theCold War, was cut significantly after reunification. The BFV (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution), which is part of the Ministry of the Interior, is charged with protecting the country from antidemocratic forces, particularly neo-Nazism. The agency employs some 2,500 people at its headquarters in Cologne. In addition, each German state performs similar counterintelligencefunctions through a separate LFV (State Office for the Protection of the Constitution) or its own interior ministry. During the Cold War both the BND and the BFV were bedeviled with scandals, often involving the defection of senior officers to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Soviet Union. During the 1990s the German intelligence services were widely criticized for their failure to...
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