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What exactly are the tasks of the domestic intelligence services?

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According to section 3 of the Act Regulating the Cooperation between the Federation and the Federal States in Matters Relating to the Protection of the Constitution and on the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesverfassungsschutzgesetz, BVerfSchG), the domestic intelligence services, that is, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV) and the intelligence services of the federal states, have been tasked with the collection and the analysis of information on

  1. efforts

    • directed against the free democratic basic order or

    • against the existence and the security of the Federation or one of its States or

    • aimed at unlawfully hampering constitutional bodies of the Federation or one of its States or their members in the performance of their duties or

    • jeopardising foreign interests of the Federal Republic of Germany by the use of violence or the preparation thereof or

    • directed against the idea of international understanding (article 9, para. 2 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz, GG)), especially against the peaceful coexistence of peoples

  2. intelligence activities carried out on behalf of a foreign power (counter-intelligence).

  3. Moreover, in conformity with section 3 (2) of the BVerfSchG, BfV contributes to counter-sabotage and personnel/physical security.

The BfV collects by far the biggest part of its information from overt and generally accessible sources, that is, printed material such as newspapers, flyers, programmes and appeals. BfV staff members attend public events and also interview individuals who are in a position to give pertinent information. In these conversations held on a voluntary basis, BfV staff members identify themselves as such.

For the collection of information, the use of intelligence means is an indispensable instrument, too. This includes the handling of trusted contacts (individuals recruited from the extremist scene, no domestic intelligence staff) in extremist circles, covert surveillance, and, if necessary, mail and telephone interception, which is subject to authorisation and control by a parliamentary body.

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Gebäude 2

Anti-terrorist Hotline: +49(0)221/ 792-3366

Anti-terrorist Hotline: +49(0)221/ 792-3366

Publications

2017 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

2017 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

DOI: July 2018
Further information Download
How can I identify extremists and members of foreign secret services within my environment? - Important information for refugees in Germany

How can I identify extremists and members of foreign secret services within my environment? - Important information for refugees in Germany

DOI: March 2018
Further information Download
2016 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

2016 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

DOI: July 2017
Further information Download
Our topics – Facts to know

Our topics – Facts to know

DOI: January 2017
Further information Download
Industry 4.0 – Challenges of a new technology

Industry 4.0 – Challenges of a new technology

DOI: January 2017
Further information Download
Social media – Risks posed by social networks

Social media – Risks posed by social networks

DOI: March 2016
Further information Download