German Agencies

Federal Intelligence Service (BND) / Bundesnachrichtendienst

Administratively the BND is part of the Federal Chancellor's Office, where it reports to the intelligence coordinator in the Chancellor's Office. Some have suggested placing the BND with the Defence Ministry.

Department 1 (Operational Procurement)

Department 2 (Technical Surveillance)

Department 2A of the BND, quartered in the high security building No 109 in Pullach, is responsible for counternarcotics and countering money-laundering activities. It was also involved in the Operation Hades Plutonium incident.

Department 3 (Interpretation )

Department 3 includes 750 officials for assessing information.

Department 4 (Administration)

Department Four activities include the maintenance of the BND its Central File for Persons (PEZD). The centrepiece of the intelligence service and one of the most closely protected files in Germany, the PEZD contains all findings on persons with contacts with the intelligence services.

Department 5 (Security and Defence)

Department 6 (Central Tasks)

The BND is supervised by the Parliamentary Control Commission (PKK) for the intelligence services.

The Law on Combating Crime, which was adopted in 1994, authorizes the BND to tap telecommunications lines only for foreign intelligence collection. However the Law authorizes the BND to pass to prosecutors information obtained from tapping international phone calls in connection with certain serious crimes such as arms dealing, drug trafficking, or terrorism. The originally planned provision that the intelligence service could be involved in investigations at the request of the prosecution authorities was not incorporated in the final legislation. The BND has supported legislation banning encoding or encrypting in telecommunications, arguing that such a ban is indispensable for successful intelligence collection. Nearly the entire world is of interest to the BND, which has operatives in more than 100 countries concerned with obtaining information. More often than not, they are disguised as embassy staffers and have their own address under the cover of "second political officer." Approximately 1,000 "cruising monitors" comb the airwaves around the clock and transcribe telephone and radio conversations and telex and fax traffic. Important priorities, beyond current crisis reporting, include weapons and the drugs trade, plutonium smuggling, armament or terrorist organizations and threats to international traffic routes. The BND regularly exchanges information with other security agencies, including the Federal Criminal Police Office, Customs and Federal Border Protection. In addition to daily current reporting to Bonn, in crisis situations the BND provides additional overview and situation assessment derived from its own sources or from the services of other countries. The BND has been involved in a coordinated European effort to stop arms deals and smuggling. The BND has deployed agents among Islamic activists in various German cities, and has intensified its surveillance of activities in Central Europe.

In August 1994 three small-time crooks smuggled some 363 grams of plutonium from Moscow to Munich on a Lufthansa aircraft. After they were apprehended at the Munich Airport by officers of the Bavarian Land Office of Criminal Investigations, it was revealed that two BND agents, Karsten Uwe Schnell (cover name: "Roberto") and Rafael Ferreras Fernandez ("Rafa"), encouraged the plutonium deal, code named Operation Hades, in a meeting with the perpetrators in Madrid. There has been an enormous amount of controversy, and a fair amount of disinformation, surrounding the Munich incident. The BND has an agreement with the Russian FSK covering cooperation in area of contending with nuclear contraband. Personnel costs account for almost 70 percent of the BND budget, with investment accounting for another 10 percent. The Federal Intelligence Service [BND] plans to reduce its staff from 6,300 employees to 4,500. The staff level peaked at around 7,6000 during the Cold War, with 6,000 located at the central headquarters and 1,500 at branches and overseas locations. Half the staff consists of civilians working under contract, one-third are permanent civil servants, and one out of every 10 is a military serviceman. Between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 1997 a total of nearly 750 jobs were eliminated. A further reduction of 15 percent is planned until after the year 2000. Originally, the reduction was supposed to be even faster, but this would have increased expenses due to payments for early retirement. BND civil servants and military staff leave the BND when they reach retirement age, and their posts are not filled. Although approximately 1,100 positions are to be eliminated, no more than 180 people are scheduled to retire by the year 2000. The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is headquartered in Munich-Pullach, where between 80 to 90 percent of BND employees are stationed. Financially, it is not possible to move the service to Berlin by the year 2000, though plans are underway for the the BND to establish a "virtual" presence in Berlin by 1999, when the Federal Government moves there.

The new BND Situation and Information Centre (LIZ) is housed in a new complex of buildings, costing 100 million German marks. Here the information collected from around the world from media and agent reports is analysed, compiled and integrated with political evaluations. Twice each day an online situation report is prepared for submission to recipients in situation centres at the chancellor's office, in the Foreign and Interior Ministries and in other departments. The BND operates a secret telecommunications intercept station in Hoefen at the border with Belgium. Officially, an office for telecommunications statistics is housed there. The BND uses a high-capacity computer to register the collected data. Another BND collection facility is located in Husom in Schleswig-Holstein, also disguised as an office for telecommunications statistics. Situated on the western coast of Schleswig-Holstein, it is probably monitoring the Atlantic region. The antennas belong to the "Kastagnette" installation, which is located in the middle of a residential district about 200 metres away. Between 1988 and 1993, a substantial effort was invested in the expansion of the facility.

Military Security Service (MAD) / Militaerischer Abschirmdienst

Military counterintelligence (MAD) is part of the main military offices of the German armed forces. It is one of three Federal German intelligence agencies, along with the German Intelligence Service (BND) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). Established in 1956, until 1984 it was known as the Office for Security of the German Armed Forces (Amt für Sicherheit der Bundeswehr - ASBw). As directed in the law on military counterintelligence [of 20 December 1990], MAD responsibilities include the collection and analysis of information about anticonstitutional efforts and adversary secret service activities, the interpretation of information for the assessment of the security situation of German and allied armed forces and allied, and providing security evaluations and technical safety precautions for classified material protection. In fullfilment of its functions MAD maintains close contacts with security representatives and agency managers of the German Federal Armed Forces and advises them in security affairs. Though organizationally part of the armed forces, officially it is technically subordinated to the Deputy of the General Inspector of the German Federal Armed Forces for military security. Its competence is basically limited to the division of the BMVg. The functions are assumed in the Office for Military Conterintelligence, located Cologne, and in subordinate agencies at other locations. The total of some 1,950 staff members consists of about 500 at the MAD main office, 1,000 at MAD Groups and some 500 elsewhere. The training activities of the School for intelligence of the German Federal Armed Forces in Bad Ems are being transferred to the Office for Intelligence of the German Federal Armed Forces or by the military guard service. The school and facility at Bad Ems is being closed

Bundesamtes fur Verfassungsschutz / Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution

The protection of the Constitution authorities are marked often as "early warning system of the freedom." With this notion their tasks can be understood well. The BfV collects information about anti-constitutional - therefore extremist - efforts, as well as over the activity of hostile intelligence services. Critical citizens and "radical" views are no ojects of investigation for the Protection of the Constitution. Safeguarding the democratic system is defined in the Basic Law as "protection of the constitution". In order to be able to provide effective protection the federal and state authorities collect information on extremist activities and on other developments which constitute a threat to national security and evaluate it for the federal and state governments, executive authorities and courts. Another important area is counterespionage. The federal authority charged with these tasks is the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) in Cologne. It is accountable to the Federal Ministry of the Interior and cooperates with the corresponding state agencies. The agency has no executive police powers. It may not arrest or interrogate anyone, it does not conduct house searches or confiscate objects, and is not incorporated into police stations The information, which are gathered by BfV staff members, serve the other agencies of the Federeal and State governments. The information from the BfV serves in legal proceedings as important evidence. In everything which the BfV does the rights of the citizens are secured through linking instructions and multiple controls. The Protection of the Constitution gains the by far largest part of its information from open, generally accessible sources, including from printed materials like newspapers, leaflets, programs and manifestos. Staff members of the Federal office visit public events, and question persons who can provide relevant information on a voluntary basis.

Counterintelligence is for The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution like the military (MAD) a kind special protection of the Constitution of the German armed forces - an internal intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany. The failure the actually existing socialism [the German Democratic Republic] has changed the security situation considerably. The German Communist party (DKP) has dramatically lost meaning and influence. But left-extremist efforts continue to endanger German internal security. So the "party of democratic socialism" (PDS) offers a clear reference points for extremist efforts. The "reds army fraction" (RAF) and the "revolutionary cells" (RZ) have continued with terrorist drives. And other violent left-wing extremists have caused damages costing millions of Marks. As always the Federal Republic stands in the centre of numerous espionage activities, although the "Ministry for State Security" (MfS), the earlier main source of espionage has departed along with the GDR. Today the intelligence services of Russia as well as the near, middle and far east try everything to procure information. The beginning the 1990s saw greatly expanded Right-extremism which is now declining, but the right-extremist potential as well as the number the right-extremist motivated atrocities are always still by far higher than end the 1980s. The number of the foreign extremists has climbed since 1993 around 48 percent. In the same period the number of the atrocities committed by foreign extremist has risen around 37 percent. As of 1989 total staff of the BfV numbered some 2,360 with an additional LfV staff of 2,700

State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) /
Landesamtes für Verfassungsschutz

The federal constitution protection law obligates the Federal and State governments to arrange their own protection of the Constitution authorities. The Federal government implemented this responsibility through the establishment of the BfV on 07 November 1950, and the States soon thereafter. Some established independent Protection of the Constitution authorities, while others [North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein] allocated the task of the protection of the Constitution of a section of their Ministry of the Interior. Also in the new federal states successive authorities were set up after the reunification of Germany for protection of the Constitution, so that there are now 16 state authorities for protection of the Constitution. The legislature has standardized in § 1 paragraph 2 explicitly an obligation for cooperation of the protection of the Constitution authorities. The cooperation extends to the exchange of knowledge and expertise. The distribution responsibility is closely controlled. For extremist efforts of merely regional significance observations are conducted through the responsible state authority. The BfV has a central role to summarize and evaluate collected information. In cases of national meaning it can determine however also personally and accomplish security operations. However a special role is allocated the BfV in the area of espionage. In order to better monitor the methods and techniques of hostile espionage activities, the interpretation of all espionage cases is centralized at the BfV.

Federal Office for Information Technology Security (BSI) / Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik

The Federal Office for Information Technology Security is federal authority, created in 1990 and subordinated to the Federal Minister of the Interior, that is responsible for information technology [IT] security, including all technical means for the processing or transmission of information. Responsibilities of the Office include: Investigation of security risks at the application of the information technology as well as development of security measures, particularly from information technology procedures and instruments for the security in information technology, to support the activities of the Federal government; Development of criteria, procedures and tools for testing and evaluating the security of IT systems or components; Testing and evaluating the security of IT systems or components and awarding security certificates; Certifying IT systems or components, which are used in the Federal systems, or at enterprises under Federal contract, for the processing or transmission of officially undisclosed information (classified information), and the manufacture of data keys, which are required for the operation of admitted encryption instruments; Supporting offices responsible for Federal IT security; Supporting Federal offices responsible for the prevention and tracing of criminal offences, including Federal and State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution, as far as this is necessary to prevent criminal acts, efforts or activities, which are directed at the security in information technology or result from the use of information technology.

The Federal Office for Information Technology Security publishes an annual IT - Grundschutzhandbuch [Information Technology Protection Handbook] which defines, for a multitude of information technology systems, the necessary IT-security precautions which are necessary for basic protection. The IT - Grundschutzhandbuch provides comprehensive descriptions of IT - systems, including considered measures and threats.

Office of Intelligence of the Federal Armed Forces (ANBw) / Amt für Nachrichtenwesen der Bundeswehr

Office for intelligence of the German Federal Armed Forces (ANBw) is the primary office of military intelligence for the determination and evaluation of the military positions of foreign states. Under current plans there will be a permanent change of station from Bad Neuenahr Ahrweiler to Gelsdorf in 1998.


While other CT teams were created because of the Munich Olympics, GSG-9 has distinction because the massacre in 1972 was, at least in part, directly attributed to the German police's lack of preparation and training for such trials. Because of this failure, GSG-9 was created and was considered operational on April 17, 1973. Six months after the massacre in Munich. GSG-9 is organised into three separate groups; GSG-9/1, GSG-9/2, and GSG-9/3. GSG/1 is the "regular" counter-terrorist assault group. GSG-9/2 is tasked against maritime terrorism and GSG-9/3 is the airborne unit. The first two groups have about 100 men each and the third has about 50. Although now experimenting with the SIG SG 551-1P 5.56 mm special operations assault rifle, GSG-9 has a large variety of Hk Mp-5s in its arsenal, including the MP-5SD (Suppressed A1-A4 and the MP-5K (short). The preferred assault rifle is the HK 7.62mm G8 special rifle. Sniper rifles include the HK PSG-1, Mauser SP86, and the Venerable Mauser SP66, all chambered in the 7.62mm size. Personal weapons include the Smith and Wesson or Ruger .357 magnum revolvers and the Glock 17 9mm. Use of the HK P7 is also optional. GSG-9 has a wide variety of vehicles assigned to enable completion of their mission. Unmarked Mercedes 280s, Volkswagon mini-buses, and BGS arsenal trucks fill out the motor pool. A special aviation group, the Bundesgrenzschutz Grenzschutz-Fliegergruppe is used to ferry GSG-9 to their targets. Pilots for this group are considered to be the best in Germany. GSG-9s best known mission is the 1977 takedown of a terrorist held Lufthansa 707 in Mogadishu, Somali. A team of two men and two women hijacked the plane, demanding the release of Baader-Meinhof terrorists held in German jails. After the captain of the plane was killed, the German Government ordered GSG-9 in.

They arrived at 17:30 hours on 17, October 1977. Two SAS officers were along to "observe" the takedown; They brought the new "flash-bang" stun grenades with them. Members of GSG-9 and the two SAS troopers begin approaching the aircraft from the rear. At 23:50, with the help of the local Somali military, diversions were set up to distract the terrorists. They were told their demands had been met. Then a huge bonfire set by the Somali special forces began to burn 100 yards in front of the plane. At 00:05 (12:05 for those of you who can't read military time) the assault began. Climbing up the rubber tipped ladders, 20 GSG-9 operators forced their way into the aircraft and tossed the flash-bang grenades towards the cockpit. One female terrorist was encountered immediately and killed. Another raced to the rear of the aircraft and barricaded herself in a toilet. She was critically wounded by a burst from an MP-5, but survived. Two minutes after the assault began, the fuselage of the aircraft is secure and the evacuation of passengers begins as the battle rages for the cockpit. The leader of the terrorists tosses two fragmentation grenades at the GSG-9 operators; these detonate under a row of seats and do little harm. The leader is then dispatched by a burst of 9mm from a MP-5. The fourth and final terrorist is killed when the leader and father of GSG-9, Ulrich Wegener, places several .38 rounds into his head. Eleven minutes after the assault begins, the aircraft is secure, with no losses.

GSG-9's reputation was solid until June 27, 1993, when an operation went bad and Wolfgang Grams (member of the Red Army) was killed. Even though an investigation revealed that Grams had shot himself, statements from eyewitness that Grams had been shot in cold blood jeopardized the existence of the unit. However, two months later a KLM flight from Tunis to Amsterdam was hijacked by a single terrorist who demanded the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was being held in New York in connection with the World Trade Center bombing. GSG-9 operators were dispatched to Dusseldorf (the airport the hijacked aircraft landed at) and managed to capture the hijacker without firing a shot. An editorial in the normally critical Aachener Volkseitung praised the units restraint and called for their continued existence. GSG-9's existence remains in jeopardy, however. Ironically, this is due to the effectiveness and reputation they have earned. Terrorist incidents have fallen dramatically recently, and the new SEK (SWAT type units) are gaining in popularity. Hopefully this distinguished unit will be able to secure their future.

KSK Kommando SpezialKraefte

"The Will Counts"

In 1995, Germany to the initial steps to form a new military special operations unit known as Kommando Spezialkraefte, or KSK for short. With the unification of the two formerly separate Germany's, and their increased influence and business interests outside of Germany's borders, a new force was needed. That force would have to capable of rapidly responding to incidents involving German citizens abroad, or protecting Germany's national interests worldwide. The unit would also be capable of operating under conditions that other German military forces were not accustomed to, or normally trained to operate in, such as jungle and desert climates. KSK was formed to fill that need. According to several reports, the impetus for forming the force was the German experience during the 1994 Rwandan civil war. During the conflict, Belgian and French paratroopers were used to rescue 11 German nationals because no suitably trained German force was available. KSK's commander, a Brigadier, has emphasized the need for mature, reliable soldiers to man the unit. Despite the unit's hostage-rescue capabilities, reports stress that the KSK is a military unit with military missions -- not another GSG-9 counterterrorist force. KSK does, however, maintain a Hostage Rescue Team capable of resolving a variety of associated tasks. While GSG-9 and the state police municipal SEK's are all outstanding units, GSG-9 is a Federal Border Guards unit that by law is restricted from conducting foreign military operations, and the SEK's only authorized to operate within their respective jurisdictions.

KSK will operate under the control of the German Crisis Section, and will conduct missions similar to those undertaken by US Special Forces, or British SAS units. They may include: Defence of Germany or NATO territory; Deterrence and de-escalation of crisis situations; Peace keeping/peace support missions; Strategic recon; Deep penetration raids; Hostage rescue/CT operations.

Although unit missions include operating against high value targets such as lines of communication, enemy headquarters and long range recon, particular emphasis is being placed on ensuring the safety of German citizens in war or conflict zones, evacuating noncombatants, and rescuing hostages or downed pilots. The bulk of the unit was formed on April, 1st 1996 when the personnel of the three airborne brigade's commando companies, along with troops assigned to two of the Army's Long Range Scout Companies (the 3rd unit was disbanded) were combined under one command forming the KSK. By the fall of 1996, approximately 20 soldiers had been successfully trained, and the unit was operational by April 1997. The first companies had a limited operational capacity in early 1999, with a small detachment being deployed to Kosovo to provide close protection details for high ranking German officials. 

When the unit is declared fully operational, it will consist of 1,000 fully trained operators, and will be organized as follows: HQ & Signal Company- HQ Platoon, 3 Signal Platoons, Long Range Recon Signal Platoon (all trained in SATCOM, HF, LOS communication). Commando/ Long-Range Recon Company- A HQ element, A Long Range Recon Commando Platoon, A Long Range Recon Platoon. Each Commando Company consists of the following: HQ Platoon, Four Commando Platoons - each specializing in a different area; 1st - Land Infiltration; 2nd - Air Infiltration (HALO capable); 3rd - Amphibious Operations; 4th - Mountainous and Arctic climate opera. Each platoon consisting of four teams of four men each. Each of the four men specializes in one of the following areas: communications, explosives, medical, or operations and intelligence, with one of the men acting as team leader. One of the four platoons is trained in conducting hostage rescue/ CT operations. At least some operators are trained in high-speed driving as well. Support Company- a logistics Platoon, Parachute Equipment Platoon, Medical Platoon, Maintenance/repair Platoon, Training Platoon.

Training for KSK's initial batch of recruits is supposed to last for a period of approximately three years, with all the units operational elements being both military free-fall (HALO/HAHO) and SCUBA trained. The selection process and basic training for new recruits lasts about three months and is a modified version of what the SAS, and US Army Special Forces use (the US, UK, and France were all involved in the initial planning and unit set up).

The following is requirements must be met before a candidate can enter into the KSK's training course: Officers have to be under 30years of age, and NCOs under 32; Candidates can come from any part of the Army; Candidates must be airborne qualified; Candidates must volunteer for at least 6 years of service with the KSK.

Einzelkaempferlehrgang 1- A training course that all combat arms Officers and most senior NCO's (Staff Sergeants and above) must successfully complete. Selection Process at Calw (KSK's Blackwood training centre). 1 Day Psychological test (computer assisted testing). 1 Week of selection. 2 Days of physical fitness testing (1 Minute maximum situps, 1 minute max. pushups, 3 10m sprint, stand jumping, 12 minute run). 500m swimming under 15 min. Standard German Assault course in max 1:40 min. 7 Km Field run with 20kg backpack in 52:00 min. Additional psychological tests (3 days). Upon successfully completing the basic screening and selection course the new recruit goes on to attend more specialized training courses.

Basic Commando Training
1 week of SERE training under extreme conditions, including a 100 km march in 4 days with heavy load and unexpected incidents, such as abseiling, river crossings, orientiering, and cadre led ambushes. Psychological screening 1 hour.

Basic Commando training part II
A 3 week combat survival course at the International Long Range Recon Patrol School at Pfullendorf. All specialist training is to be completed before a new recruit is assigned to an operational team. At least some members also receive training in high speed/performance driving techniques.

With KSK, being a military organization, it is able to conduct overseas deployments and participate in NATO exercises where GSG- 9 could not (legally) do so, though sometimes did (the rescue of hostages from the Lufthansa Airlines 737 in Mogadishu Airport, in October 1977 for example) and will also be used to protect and project Germany interests world wide. Due to the many diverse missions and environments that KSK may be forced to operate in, KSK operators are afforded the use a wide variety of weapons and equipment. Uniforms consist of basic German infantry uniforms and LBE, black Nomex coveralls and balaclavas, and Kevlar "Fritz" style helmets. Commo equipment consists of a modified helmet mounted SEM52/SL with throat mike. KSK operators have access to the entire arsenal of German military weapons, and a large number of weapons purchased exclusively for their use. These weapons are known to include the following: HK G36 5.56mm assault rifles, in both carbine and SAW versions with tactical lights, and lasers attached; P8 9mm pistols; HK MP5-SD3 9mm SMGs; HK G8 assault rifles; HK 512 12-gauge shotguns; G22 Sniper Weapon System (Accuracy International AW with folding stock, and German Optics in .300 Win mag); HK PII underwater pistols; HK 21 5.56mm LMG HK 23 7.62mm LMGs; MG3 7.62mm GPMGs; and Panzerfaust 3 and Milan AT Weapons. Vehicles in use with KSK are known to include Unimog 2 ton trucks, and Mercedes Benz G Wagon's. For heliborne operations, the members of KSK practice with the Bell 212's and Sikorsky CH-53's of the German Luftwaffe.


Intelligence Agencies Australia & New Zealand Canada Chile China
Cuba Czechoslovakia Egypt France Germany
Greece India Indonesia Iran Iraq
Ireland Israel Italy Japan Nigeria
North Korea Pakistan Romania Russia Serbia
South Africa South Korea Spain Sweden Taiwan
Turkey United Kingdom United States of America