For 60 years, the officials of the BND have been monitoring others. The Ventana documentary takes a critical look - at the spies, their superiors and in parliament.
It is a gigantic secret agency: The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) uses thousands of civil servants with false names and fake passports to obtain foreign state secrets. But the BND is deep in a crisis of confidence. One wiretapping scandal after another shakes the service.
Just recently, President Gerhard Schindler had to vacate his post. Was he sacked because the BND made mistakes, or did he fall from grace because he promised more transparency? Gerhard Schindler was the first BND president to admit that his service had gone too far. In an exclusive interview for this film, Schindler literally says: "I think the discussion about the Federal Intelligence Service, which is currently taking place on a broad scale, about its powers, but also about its limits, is long overdue.(...) I think efficient control doesn't harm us, it benefits us."
Did Schindler have to leave because of such confessions? The authors Rainald Becker and Christian H. Schulz managed to talk to Gerhard Schindler again after his dismissal. The authors also interview Peter Altmaier, the head of the Federal Chancellery. Their film explores the question: Who tames this spy operation with its massive wiretapping facilities and hunger for data? A few members of the Bundestag are supposed to control the secret service and check whether the German spies abide by the Basic Law. In "Schattenwelt BND" (Shadow World BND), the parliamentarians openly admit as never before that the mission of the controllers has failed. Hans-Christian Ströbele (B'90/Green Party) admits in an interview on the control of the secret services: "We can't control them. The problem is that the MPs can only examine documents that the BND makes available to them. What does the BND do? What role does it play for politics and where should the limits be for the secret service? The authors pursue these questions and get exciting answers.
A production of Ventana-Film Berlin in co-production with SWR, RBB, DW, in cooperation with ARTE.
- Authors: Rainald Becker and Christian H. Schulz
- 90 minutes