Intelligence services

Tinfoil hat people sometimes mention the quantity of intelligence services of a country as an indicator for, well, that they get spied on and manipulated by them.
The total budget would be a more interesting variable, but the quantity is sometimes impressive (15 in the USA, for example).

15 intelligence services isn't as impressive as the quantity of German intelligence agencies, though. We have a population of 82.3 million and a total of three federal intelligence agencies:
MAD - Counter-espionage
BND - espionage
BfV - domestic espionage (on extremists, supposedly)

Two other agencies have partially intelligence service tasks:
BSI - cyber security
IKTZ - and a detachment of the federal police

Well, that's not impressive yet, but we have 16 states, this adds 16 !!! state-level intelligence agencies (small equivalents of the BfV).

That's a total of 19-21 intelligence agencies - but only two of them might spy on me at any one time (unlikely), and only one when I am in a foreign country (even more unlikely).

German intelligence services have to obey the Trennungsgrundsatz - separation principle - they are not allowed to arrest people, for example. They cannot ask or order the police to do it as well.

The recent BKA Gesetz (federal criminal agency law) was accused to soften up this rule and this might be part of a slow erosion of once iron rules that were established to limit the state's ability to be evil.

Sven Ortmann

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