Zentralstelle für das Chiffrierwesen
The Zentralstelle für das Chiffrierwesen (ZfCh) 1 –
Code Coordination Bureau – was the German Federal
Cryptographic Authority, established in 1956 as an independent
office for cryptographic affairs.
In 1991, the ZfCh became the
Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI).
The history of ZfCh dates back to 1947 when, shortly after
cryptologist Erich Hüttenhain
– the former chief of cryptanalytical
research of the Wehrmacht – assembled a group of military cryptologists
at the US Army base near Oberursel (Hesse, Germany). This expert group,
informally known as Society of Scientific Work,
subsequently became part of the signals intelligence unit of
Organisation Gehlen (OG) –
the post war intelligence agency – and concentrated on
Eastern Block military transmissions .
It was located in Mehlem (Bonn, Germany) and headed by
In 1956, when Organisation Gehlen (OG) was succeeded by the
Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the
Society of Scientific Work was renamed
Zentralstelle für das Chiffrierwesen (ZfCh)
and became an independent body under BND Directorate II.
remained head of the ZfCH until his retirement in 1970.
He was succeeded by Wilhelm Göing who, after his untimely death
in November 1972, was replaced by Otto Leiberich.
In the spring of 1973, ZfCh came under control of Department IV of the
German intelligence agency
— the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) —
the same department that handled for the joint BND/CIA secret
In 1986 – still under control of BND – ZfCh
formed an internal task force that concentrated on
the fast developing computer and information technology, which
in 1989 became known
as Zentralstelle für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik
(ZSI) — the Central Office for Information Security.
In 1991, ZSI became the independent
Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) —
the German Federal Office for Information Security —
and is no longer under BND control.
In the past the abbreviation ZfCh
has also been written as ZfChi.
Leiberich stayed on as head of the BSI
and from 1970 his successor Wilhelm Göing, were largely responsible for
— the secret purchase of the Swiss crypto-manufacturer
by the German BND
and the American CIA.
They are regarded as the architects.
Göing unexpectedly died in November 1972 and was succeeded by Otto Leiberich .
But as Leiberich was less of a 'heavy weight' than Göing and Hüttenhain,
it was decided – in the spring of 1973 –
to place ZfCh under Department IV of the BND, which was
also responsible for Operation RUBICON.
It provided CIA with a single point of contact
for matters related to the operation .
➤ More about Operation RUBICON
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 20 December 2019. Last changed: Saturday, 29 April 2023 - 08:02 CET.