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Herbert Kunz
TSCM expert and security consultant

Herbert Kunz is a German security consultant, with expertise in espionage countermeasures, in particular in finding hidden covert listening devices (bugs). He started his career in 1971 during his National Service for the Nationale Volks-Armee (NVA) 1 of the former DDR (East-Germany).

In 1974 he started working for the East-German Außenministerium (Foreign Office), where he was trained extensively in countermeasures against eavesdropping. Following the recognition of the DDR as a Nation State in 1975, 2 he was sent all over the world to secure DDR objects, such as embassies, residencies and private apartments.

In 1975, he helped building the first bugging-secure plexi­glass room (Orbita) at the embassy in Vienna (Austria). He found numerous bugs in London, Iran, Egypt, West-Germany, the US, etc.
Herbert Kunz in 1975 at his desk at the DDR Foreign Office

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent reunification of the two Germanies in 1990, Kunz stayed in the bug-finding trade and made a living as a security advisor/engineer and teacher. He can be hired as a security consultant and is a member of the Bund Internationaler Detektive 3 (BID). He is also an honorary teacher at the Security Academy in Berlin (Germany) [1].

  1. NVA = Nationale Volksarmee = National People's Army.
  2. The DDR was officially recognised as a nation state by the West, after the 1975 Helsinki Accords [2].
  3. International Detective Union.

Kunz' equipment on this website
Wire-line bug detector
Non-linear Junction Detector
Russian countermeasures receiver for the 100 MHz to 12 GHz frequency range
Capri (7042) LW receiver, used by the Stasi for finding carrier frequency bugs
Foreign Office
Security services are generally not very open about their work and their methods. It will therefore not be a surprise that there are virtually no surviving stories about how the Soviets searched their embassies, residencies and apartments, an how — if any — bugs were detected and discovered.

Luckily, this situation was different in the former DDR (East-Germany). Following WWII, the DDR was established as a communist state in 1949, administered 1 by the Soviet Union (Russia). After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the DDR was reunited with West-Germany (BRD) in 1990, the East-Germans became West-German citizens and the Stasi-archives fell into Western hands.

In 1975, the DDR was recognised by the United Nations as an official nation state, after which embassies, residencies and homes were established in more than 100 countries. Needless to say that it was of the utmost importance to the DDR Goverment that these objects were free of covert listening devices (bugs). During his time at the DDR Foreign Office, Kunz found numerous bugs 2 mainly by means of visual inspection and with help of simple tools like field-strength indicators.

All that changed when the Orchidea-3 NLJD was introduced in the mid-1980s. Many objects were searched again, and a wide variety of bugs were discovered by Kunz, most of which were thought to have been planted by Western adversaries like the British MI5/MI6 and the United States CIA.

The image on the right shows two of the items that were found in 1987 in London, in the 12 cm hollow space between the DDR Embassy and its next door neighbour. At the time it was believed that the items were planted by the British secret intelligence service MI6 via the adjacent building.
SWM-44B microphone (left) and SRN-58 antenna (right)

The large item at the top is an SRN-58 antenna for 1500 MHz, developed in 1969 by the Dutch Radar Laboratory (NRP), exclusively for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The smaller item is an SWM-44B microphone developed in 1986 by the US microphone manufacturer Knowles, also exclusively for the CIA. It seems therefore more likely that the bugs had been planted by the CIA.

Western bugs found in DDR objects
Below is a non-exhaustive overview of the bugs that were discovered by Herbert Kunz and his colleagues, with help of the Orchidea-3 non-linear junction detector (NLJD) 3 :

  • 1986
    Five remote controlled bugs in the DDR residency in Harare (Zimbabwe)
  • 1987
    Several Bugs in the new DDR embassy in London 4
  • 1987
    Operational bug in a DDR embassy personnel apartment in Cairo (Egypt)
  • 1987
    Defective bug in another apartment in Cairo (Egypt)
  • 1987
    Various bugs in the DDR representation in Bonn (West Germany)
  1. With exception of West-Berlin, which was controlled by West Germany (BRD).
  2. For example: in 1973, telephone bugs had been found in the DDR representation in London (UK), as well as manipulated mains wall sockets in Düsseldorf (West-Germany).
  3. The Orchidea produces a 30 W (optionally 350 W) pulsed signal, whereas the Scanlock Broom produces a 300 mW continuous signal.
  4. At the time, these bugs were attributed to the British MI6, but in retrospect — based on items in the collection of Crypto Museum — it seems more likely that the bugs were placed by the CIA.

  1. Die Abhörpleite am Tiber · 1978
    Der Detektiv, September 2012, Volume 1 (German). 1

  2. Savakwanzen am Mossadeghboulevard · 1979
    Der Detektiv, December 2012, Volume 2 (German). 1

  3. Informationsleck in der Park Avenue · 1980
    Der Detektiv, June 2013, Volume 3 (German). 1

  4. Die Steckdosen am Rhein · 1973
    Der Detektiv, June 2013, Volume 4 (German). 1

  5. Toiletten mit Ohren and der Themse · 1987
    Der Detektiv, September 2013. Volume 5 (German). 1
  1. Reproduced here by kind permission from the author.

  1. Herbert Kunz, Personal correspondence
    October - November 2018.

  2. Wikipedia, Helsinki Accords
    Retrieved August 2020.
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Crypto Museum. Created: Tuesday 09 October 2018. Last changed: Sunday, 23 August 2020 - 09:45 CET.
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