BND stands for Bundes Nachrichten Dienst in German and its English translation means, Federal Information Service. It is the foreign intelligence agency of Germany.
BND comes under and is a part of the Federal Chancellor's Office. The headquarters of BND is located at Pullach, near Berlin and Munich. There was a plan to move the BND head quarters to Berlin, by the end of 2011. These plans seem to be abandoned at the moment due to financial constraints. The Signals Intelligence branch of BND, also known as SIGINT, is being moved to Berlin, for better coordination.
The supervision of BND is the responsibility of Parliamentary Control Commission (PKK). In 1994 a law on fighting crime was adopted, which allowed the BND to tap phone lines for the sole purpose of collecting foreign intelligence. However, the agency is required to hand over any useful information to a prosecutor. This information can only be about serious crimes like narcotics trade, terrorism and illegal arms.
BND operates in more than 100 countries. It exchanges intelligence with other security organizations like Customs and Federal Protection and Federal Criminal Police Office. BND also analyses information gathered form different sources. BND supports the European missions to stop smuggling and dealings of illegal arms. Some BND agents also work under cover in Islamic activist groups in various cities throughout Germany.
Currently, BND employs a staff of 6,050 people. Among these newly employed people about 10% are German soldiers known in Germany as Bundeswehr. Officially the Office for Military Sciences Amt für Militärkunde recruits these soldiers. This is just a cover for military recruits for BND. The agencys annual budget exceeds 430,000,000.