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The logo of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz

The Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV, Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution[1]) is the Federal Republic of Germany's domestic intelligence agency. Its main function is the observation and surveillance of anti-constitutional activities in Germany. It is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Since 2000, Heinz Fromm (SPD) has served as President of BfV.



The Office was established in 1950, primarily to monitor communist anti-constitutional activities in West Germany.


The Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz with its headquarters at Cologne, is a federal institution under the control of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. 16 independent state based services (Landesämter für Verfassungsschutz, "State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution") exist in addition to this federal office. Those services are under control of the respective interior ministries of each state.

Coordination between the different services and the parallelism of the state-based services is an ongoing problem. A merger into a single federal service has been a topic of discussion, but the proposal faces strong political resistance due to the highly regarded principles of federalism.

Duties and responsibilities

The main job of the Verfassungsschutz is to observe organizations that are considered a threat to the "free and democratic basic order" (Freiheitlich-demokratische Grundordnung) of the Federal Republic of Germany. While they do use all kinds of surveillance technology and infiltration, most of their information is assembled from publications of the observed organisations. The information is compiled into yearly reports (the Verfassungsschutzbericht) which are made available to the public; presumably there are more detailed, non-public reports given to the governments.

The organizations being currently observed by the Verfassungsschutz fall into the following groups[2]:

Some of the Verfassungsschutz organisations have been given additional tasks by specific laws, such as the protection of government-related classified information, the monitoring of foreign secret services, or the monitoring of organised crime.


BfV headquarters in Cologne
BfV headquarters in Berlin
  • 1950 - 1954 Otto John
  • 1955 - 1972 Hubert Schrübbers
  • 1972 - 1975 Günther Nollau
  • 1975 - 1982 Richard Meier
  • 1983 - 1985 Heribert Hellenbroich
  • 1985 - 1987 Ludwig-Holger Pfahls
  • 1987 - 1991 Gerhard Boeden
  • 1991 - 1995 Eckart Werthebach
  • 1995 - 1997 Hansjörg Geiger
  • 1997 - 2000 Peter Frisch
  • since 2000 Heinz Fromm

See also


External links

Coordinates: 51°01′10″N 6°53′29″E / 51.01944°N 6.89139°E / 51.01944; 6.89139

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