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The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) is the current German Federal Intelligence Service. It was established in post-war Germany in 1946 by the US occupation authorities as the Organisation Gehlen (OG). On 1 April 1956, control of the agency was handed over to the German Government and its name was changed to Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the Federal Intelligence Service. It is known within the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by its codename CASCOPE.

New BND logo, introduced in mid-March 2024

The task of the BND is to gather foreign intelligence and to act as an early warning system to threats from abroad. It is the only German agency that operates outside the country's borders [1]. In addition, Germany also has a domestic counterpart: the Bundesamt für Verfassings­schutz (BfV) and 16 Landesämter für Verfassungs­schutz (state offices for protection of the constitution). The country also has a military counterintelligence agency: the Militärischer Abschirmdienst (MAD).

Old BND logo, used until mid-March 2024

In the past, the BND also controlled the national cipher authority Zentralstelle für das Chiffrier­wesen (ZfCh), which resided under Department II (later IV) of the BND. In 1991, ZfCh became an independent body under the name Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI).

 BND website

BND equipment on this website
Minifon P 55, the successor to the Mi-51
Ilmenau 210 tabletop radio receiver
VEB Sternradio Sonneberg (DDR) - Sternchen
ESK-52 (similar to the Type-41)
4-piece (or 2-piece) valve-based spy radio set
FS-8 (KSG-Sender) (transmitter) developed by the BND in 1957
BND short-wave converter
RR-49 receiver
German spy set SP-15
FE-8 (BN-58) short wave receiver
BN-48 (UHU) backup receiver
German spy set SP-20
Telefunken spy set FS-5000
BND operations on this website
Operation RUBICON (THESAURUS) - the secret purchase of Crypto AG
Organisation Gehlen   1946
The predecessor of the current German Federal Intelligence Service BND, was established shortly after WWII, in 1946, by the US occupation authorities. It was known as Organisation Gehlen (OG), after its head – former Wehrmacht generalmajor Reinhard Gehlen – who had been the head of the German Military Intelligence Service Fremde Heere Ost (FHO) during the war. Specialised in covert intelligence gathering in Eastern Block countries, Gehlen recruited many former FHO and Abwehr personnel and their agents. OG played an important role during the early years of the Cold War.

Bundesnachrichtendienst   1956
After much critisism from the public for hiring former Nazis, the US handed over control of the agency to the German Government on 1 April 1956, after which its name was changed to Bundes­nachrichten­dienst (BND). Nevertheless, Gehlen stayed on as president of the organisation until his retirement in 1968. The diagram below shows the history of the BND from WWI to the present.

Operation RUBICON
In June 1970, BND entered into a secret joint venture with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — internally known as Operation Thesaurus (later: Rubicon) — in which they covertly purchased Crypto AG, a Swiss manufacturer of cryptographic equipment, with the intention of controlling its cryptographic algorithms and, indirectly, Crypto AG's worldwide customer base. In 1994, BND left the operation, but CIA continued for several more decades, until they sold the company in 2018.

 Operation RUBICON

  1. History of the GEHLEN Intelligence Organisation, 1949-1956, Volume 1
    CIA, September 1953. SECRET / Release to Germany Only. 1

  2. History of the GEHLEN Intelligence Organisation, 1949-1956, Volume 2
    CIA, September 1953. SECRET / Release to Germany Only. 1
  1. Available from CIA online reading room.

  1. Wikipedia, Bundesnachrichtendienst
    Retrieved November 2015.

  2. Wikipedia, Gehlen Organization
    Retrieved November 2015.  German

  3. Crypto Museum, Operation RUBICON
    February 2020.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 29 September 2016. Last changed: Sunday, 09 June 2024 - 09:20 CET.
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