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German secret service moves into new HQ

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The northern building of the BND's new HQ welcomed its first employees on Monday. Photo: DPA
10:09 CEST+02:00
It has 12,000 doors, 14,000 windows and is made from 20,000 tonnes of steel. It is also Germany's most secretive building and its first occupants moved in on Monday.

The new home of the country’s secret service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has welcomed the first 174 of its 4,000 employees.

Access cards to the central Berlin building on Chausseestraße have no names or photos just a number and are kept in a safe overnight – no-one can take them home.

The floor area covers 260,000 m² making it one of Germany’s largest administrative buildings, according to the BND website.

And on Monday BND president Gerhard Schindler spoke with an unusual degree of transparency about the secret service.

In the north building the technical and logistics headquarters are housed. There is also a thermal power station and parking for 600 cars.

The site, which is the size of 35 football fields, has 1,300 rooms and lots of rules.

No private phones, no private laptops, no checking of private emails and Facebook is out of the question.

The seven floors of the headquarter’s north building have almost everything a small town needs to survive.

The power plant can supply electricity for 100,000 homes and diesel generators can make the spy city self-sufficient for up to two weeks, if the power supply fails.

A separate air conditioning system cools the data centre which is designed to handle at least 8,000 computers.

The move to the large new headquarters brings together different spy units in one place.

A statement of the BND website said: “The merging of various units under one roof promises growth in efficiency and effectiveness and further improvements in performance helping the Bundesnachrichtendienst to meet the future challenges of an increasingly globalized world.”

The old headquarters are at a smaller site in Pullach, south of Munich, which is referred to as “Camp Nicholas”.

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But therein lies another change.

"We’ve said goodbye to fake names,” said relocation officer Kay Croppenstedt. “We live in the real world and not in romance.”

But those wishing to visit the HQ are likely to be disappointed.

The “Frequently asked questions” section of the BND website states: “Due to safety and secrecy reasons it is unfortunately currently impossible to visit the headquarters of the Bundesnachrichtendienst."

SEE ALSO: Parliament to tighten up spy service

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