The Intelligence Service legend – Reinhard Gelen and the BND

ARD/NDR, 2006, 45 min.

A portrait of Reinhard Gehlen, the founder of Germany’s intelligence agency BND

As the founder of the BND, Reinhard Gehlen can rightly be called the father of West Germany’s foreign intelligence agency. A legend. He was considered the 20th century mastermind of German intelligence. The BND is his achievement. Reinhard Gehlen set up the West German intelligence service under the watchful eyes of the Americans, on the ruins of Nazi Germany.

On 1 April 1956, the legendary “Gehlen Organisation” became the Bundesnachrichtendienst, the Federal Intelligence Service, and Gehlen became its first president. To this day, only few published photographs exist of him, and not a single television interview. The private life of Germany’s “best-informed man” was taboo. Now film footage and sound recordings from the private archives of the head of the intelligence service are being shown on German television for the first time.

Written and directed by: Wolfgang Klauser, Ulrich Stein
Camera: Jan Kerhart, Reiner Bauer, Till Sündermann
Editor: Klaus Flemming