Return of the Spies


After lying relatively dormant for 20 years, Germany’s intelligence service is coming alive and showing signs that it is about to undergo a major overhaul.

The most recent sign of the transformation of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Services (Bundesnachrichtendienst, or bnd) occurred in mid-November 2006 when construction began on the agency’s impressive new headquarters in Berlin. At a cost of ?Ǭ720 million (us$920 million), the bnd’s sleek, sophisticated new facility is the largest state-sponsored construction project since World War ii.

Upon completion in 2012, the massive facility is to house 4,000 bnd employees, most of whom will be transferred from the present headquarters near Munich. This decision by Berlin to undergo such a large and expensive project (ridiculed as unnecessary by many Germans) reveals the growing importance and attention Germany’s leadership is giving to its intelligence agency and network of spies.

Expatica recently discussed the response by Otto Schily, interior minister during Gerhard Schröder’s chancellorship, to those who oppose the construction project. “He argues that when flashpoint situations arise in the world, and German citizens’ lives are endangered, the government has to react calmly, but swiftly. With the bnd located in Berlin, the lines of communication between the government and the intelligence service are likely to be more effective …” (Nov. 15, 2006). The relocation of the bnd is intended not only to improve this one agency’s efficiency, but also that of the entire German government.

With crises surging across the globe, the demand for Berlin to help manage these issues is intensifying. In recent years, Germany has been deeply involved both politically and militarily in such key arenas as the Balkans, Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, Lebanon, Israel, and throughout Africa. Last month, the Trumpet reported on the key, albeit covert, role the bnd is playing between Israel and Hezbollah. It is a nation in demand.

As Germany becomes more sought-after, all the while facing internal crises such as the threat of radical Islam, watch for the government to allocate more time, money and resources to resurrecting the infamous German spy agency