The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) or Federal Intelligence Service is the current civilian foreign intelligence agency of Germany. Its immediate ancestor was the Gehlen Organization, a post-WWII organization set up by the U.S. Army in 1949 and then directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, using staff and records from Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen who had been an officer of the army of the Third Reich who was not himself considered a Nazi. He had run the Army intelligence branch directed at the Soviet Union. Germany took control in 1956.
While Gehlen was not suspect in U.S. intelligence involvement with World War II war criminals, other employees, such as Hans Felfe, were later found to have such involvement.
In 1999, its website said it had a staff of approximately 6,000, divided into five main departments: h
- Department 1: Operational intelligence, appears to be responsible for human-source intelligence, both with agents recruited by the BND and through liaison with other intelligence agencies.
- Department 2: Technical procurement: Principally Signals intelligence; it does some information processing but the main computing center is in Department 6.
- Department 3: Evaluation
- Department 4: Administration, law and central services
- Department 6: Technical developments and research
Iraq and weapons of mass destruction
A Iraqi defector codenamed CURVEBALL was run by BND, who provided information to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency was given access. While CURVEBALL's information was important in the U.S. determination that Iraq had a biological weapons program, his information was later found to be inaccurate. It was, however, part of the casus belli for the Iraq War.