Parliamentary control body

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The parliamentary control body ( PKGr ) is a body of the German Bundestag to control the intelligence services of the federal government . It controls the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), the Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). According to the Control Committee Act, the Federal Government is obliged to inform the PKGr comprehensively about the general activities of the federal intelligence services and about events of particular importance.

Function and tasks

At the beginning of each electoral term, the German Bundestag elects the members of the parliamentary control body from among its members ( Section 2 (1) PKGrG). It determines the number of members, the composition and the working methods of the parliamentary control body ( § 2 Abs. 2 PKGrG). The parliamentary supervisory body meets at least once every quarter. It elects a chairperson and his or her deputy. There are rules of procedure ( Section 3 (1) PKGrG). Each member can request that the parliamentary control body be convened and informed ( Section 3 (2 ) PKGrG).

Insofar as the PKGr's right to control extends, it can request the Federal Government and the federal intelligence services to surrender files or other documents in official custody, if necessary also in the original, and to transmit data stored in files. He must be granted access to all federal intelligence services at all times ( Section 5 (1) PKGrG). It can question members of the intelligence services, employees and members of the federal government as well as employees of other federal authorities after informing the federal government or obtain written information from them. The people to be heard are obliged to provide complete and truthful information ( Section 5 (2 ) PKGrG).

Insofar as this is necessary for imperative reasons of access to messages or for reasons of protecting the personal rights of third parties or if the core area of ​​executive personal responsibility is affected, the Federal Government can inform the PKGr about general activities and processes of particular importance as well as the surrender of files and transmission of files , as well as forbid employees of the federal intelligence services to provide information. Both are to be justified by the federal government to the PKGr ( § 6 Abs. 2 PKGrG).

The PKGr members regularly receive an insight into the work of the federal intelligence services through the federal government . Since their work should naturally remain secret, the members of the PKGr are obliged to maintain secrecy - also vis-à-vis the other members of the Bundestag ( Section 10 (1) PKGrG). Because the parliamentary right to ask questions also extends to the field of the intelligence services, the Federal Government and the PKGr are obliged to provide information on urgent matters. The justification of the federal government that intelligence issues should only be discussed in the PKGr and not published is inadmissible according to judgment 2 BvE 5/06 of the Federal Constitutional Court , since the parliamentary right to ask questions also extends to the intelligence services of the federal government. Three copies of the minutes are made of the meetings of the PKGr.

Employees of the federal intelligence services are permitted to contact the parliamentary control body directly in official matters as well as in internal service grievances without having to comply with official channels (as is possible in the case of soldiers with the military commissioner ). Due to the fact of the submission, they may not be disciplined or disadvantaged in the office. Citizens' submissions to the German Bundestag about behavior by the federal intelligence services that affect them can be sent to the parliamentary control body for information ( Section 8 PKGrG).

As part of their departmental responsibilities, the Home Affairs and Defense Committees also exercise a certain amount of control over the BfV and the MAD.


Parliamentary shop stewards committee (PVMG)

The forerunner of the parliamentary control body was the parliamentary shop stewards committee (PVMG). It was installed in 1956 by the then Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and met only three times between 1956 and 1960. After the last meeting in 1958, the committee met on September 4, 1963 on the occasion of the conviction of the BND employee and KGB spy Heinz Felfe on July 23. Reinhard Gehlen , then President of the BND, and his closest colleagues reported on the case, the staff and the safety standards.

The last meeting of the PVMG took place in mid-1976. When it was founded, the PVMG was solely responsible for controlling the BND. In 1965 responsibility was also extended to the BfV and the MAD.

Parliamentary Control Commission (PKK)

In 1978, after a two-year break, the PVMG was replaced by the Parliamentary Control Commission (PKK). In contrast to the PVMG, the PKK was given a legal basis, the law on parliamentary control of federal intelligence activities .

Parliamentary Control Body (PKGr)

1999 was the Parliamentary Control Commission - partly because of the acronym PKK, which the general public rather with the Kurdistan Workers' Party combines - in parliamentary control committee renamed. Since 2009, the PKGr has also been constitutionally anchored in Art. 45d GG - the only article of the Basic Law with an official title. The law was also revised on July 29, 2009.

The PKGr sparked special discussions when parties that other parties considered unreliable or extremist claimed a place in it. This was the case with the Greens in the 1980s and 1990s, with the PDS since 1990 , and with the AfD in 2018.

The non-party, Wolfgang Nešković , who has been a member of the PKGr for Die Linke since 2005 , was initially not confirmed by the Bundestag in December 2009, which was a one-off event until then. In a second vote on January 20, 2010, Nešković was re-elected to the PCGr by roll call with 320 votes in favor, 226 against and 35 abstentions. After leaving his parliamentary group, he left the PKGr in December 2012, and was succeeded by Steffen Bockhahn .

The Berlin Chief Public Prosecutor Roman Reusch , proposed by the AfD, initially missed the necessary 355 votes in the first ballot on January 18, 2018, after politicians from the other parties had expressed concerns about Reusch. In the second ballot, Reusch was finally elected to the PKGr.

In 2013, as a result of the NSA scandal , in which, among other things, revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that German intelligence services were also involved in prohibited surveillance measures , Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel initiated a reform of the Supervision Committee Act , which on July 1, 2014 over several measures to intensify control of the intelligence services were reported: a. a permanent authorized representative ("secret service officer of the Bundestag") set up to support the PKGr.


Surname fraction function
Armin Schuster
Konstantin von Notz
B90 / greens
Deputy Chairman
Andrea Lindholz
Patrick Sensburg
Uli Grötsch
Thomas Hitschler
Roman Reusch
Stephan Thomae
André Hahn
The left

The parliamentary control body of the 19th German Bundestag consists of nine members and was set up on January 18, 2018. The CDU / CSU parliamentary group sends three members, the SPD parliamentary group two, as well as the AfD parliamentary group , the FDP parliamentary group , the Bundestag parliamentary group Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and the left-wing parliamentary group each have one member. The CDU / CSU parliamentary group has the chairmanship. Burkhard Lischka's membership ended with his resignation on October 14, 2019. On November 7, 2019, Eva Högl was elected as his successor at the suggestion of the SPD parliamentary group . Högl was elected Defense Commissioner of the German Bundestag on May 7, 2020 and thus no longer a member of parliament. Her SPD colleague Thomas Hitschler was elected as her successor in the parliamentary control body .

The PKGr may temporarily include members who are no longer members of the Bundestag: In order to ensure uninterrupted control of the federal intelligence services, the Parliamentary Control Committee continues its activities beyond the end of an electoral term of the German Bundestag until the next German Bundestag has decided on a new composition ( Section 3 (4 ) PKGrG). Such a situation was e.g. B. on October 24, 2013, when in connection with the surveillance and espionage affair in 2013 and indications of eavesdropping by the United States of America on Chancellor Angela Merkel, the FDP members of the 17th German Bundestag , who were responsible for the 18th German Bundestag had not been re-elected, took part in a special meeting of the Control Committee during the legislative period of the 18th German Bundestag.

18th legislative term

The nine members of the body in the 18th electoral term of the German Bundestag (2013-2017) were: Clemens Binninger ( CDU ) as chairman, André Hahn ( left ) as deputy chairman and Manfred Grund (CDU), Stephan Mayer ( CSU ), Armin Schuster (CDU), Gabriele Fograscher ( SPD ), Uli Grötsch (SPD), Burkhard Lischka (SPD) and Hans-Christian Ströbele ( Greens ) as full members.

17th legislative term

Members of the 11-member body in the 17th electoral period of the German Bundestag (2009-2013) were: Thomas Oppermann (SPD) as chairman, Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU) as deputy chairman and Clemens Binninger (CDU), Manfred Grund (CDU ), Hans-Peter Uhl (CSU), Michael Hartmann (SPD), Fritz Rudolf Körper (SPD), Gisela Piltz (FDP), Hartfrid Wolff (FDP), Steffen Bockhahn (left) and Hans-Christian Ströbele (green).

16th legislative term

In the 16th electoral term of the German Bundestag (2005–2009) the body had nine members. These were: Max Stadler (FDP) as chairman, Norbert Röttgen (CDU) as deputy chairman and Bernd Schmidbauer (CDU), Hans-Peter Uhl (CSU), Fritz Rudolf Körper (SPD), Thomas Oppermann (SPD), Joachim Stünker ( SPD), Wolfgang Nešković (left) and Hans-Christian Ströbele (green).


The PKGr is sometimes described as "toothless", meaning without any real power. In the past, for example, intelligence services could sometimes only be visited with advance notice, and members of the PKGr reported that intelligence service employees allegedly told them the untruth several times.

The Control Committee Act does not provide for any sanctions in the event of non-compliance with the information obligations by the responsible intelligence service employees and the preventive control of intelligence services. However, restriction measures according to Article 10 Act must be approved in advance by the G 10 Commission . The PKGr cannot bring illegal actions to a criminal complaint itself or order the publication of relevant confidential documents, but it can call on the federal government to put an end to grievances.

In addition, there is a demand that the PKGr be given the rights of a committee of inquiry in order to be able to investigate breaches of law effectively (currently no evidence can be gathered or witnesses summoned). However, the German Bundestag has the right to set up investigative committees to investigate possible misconduct in the area of ​​federal intelligence services, which can collect evidence and summon witnesses ( Section 44 of the Basic Law). The Bundestag has already made numerous use of this right (see also: List of investigative committees of the German Bundestag ), for example the NSU investigative committees , the NSA investigative committee , in the Murat Kurnaz case or in the so-called plutonium affair . The Defense Committee can declare itself to be a committee of inquiry in order to investigate events in the MAD ( Section 45a (2 ) of the Basic Law).

Organizations such as also criticize the fact that the PKGr is almost completely withheld from data on cooperation with foreign intelligence services. It is also critically noted that the PKGr controls the federal intelligence services, but not other security authorities, some of which also use quasi-intelligence services, such as the Federal Police , the Federal Criminal Police Office or the Federal Customs Administration . In particular, with ever more extensive powers with regard to online searches and source telecommunications monitoring by law enforcement authorities, the question arises of who is actually monitoring these measures, especially since the technology used is presumably the same (see also Federal Trojan ). In any case, the responsible interior committee of the German Bundestag currently does not receive any such information due to the federal government's interests in secrecy.

Information from secret meetings of the PKGr is repeatedly pierced into the mass media and thus penetrates the public, including from the report on the BND journalist scandal . This could lead to the Federal Government exercising its right to refuse to be informed ( Section 6 (2 ) PKGrG). Thus the behavior of individual PKGr members would run counter to the control purpose of the parliamentary body. In the so-called journalist scandal at the time, the PKGr asked the President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert to initiate legal steps because of the suspected violation of official secrets ( § 353b StGB ) through the illegal disclosure of information.

Comparable bodies of the federal states

In the federal states there are similar committees of the state parliaments for the control of the respective state authority for the protection of the constitution, for example in Bavaria the parliamentary control body for the monitoring of the activities of the Bavarian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (7 members). In North Rhine-Westphalia the Parliamentary Control Panel (PKG) of the land day in §§ 23-30 of the state constitution Protection Act regulated.

See also


  • Law on parliamentary control of federal intelligence activities
  • Friedel, Andreas: Black box parliamentary control body of the Bundestag - deficits and optimization strategies in the control of the intelligence services . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2019, ISBN 978-3-658-25791-0 .
  • German Bundestag: 19th electoral term (publisher): Information by the parliamentary control body: Report on control activities in accordance with Section 13 of the Act on Parliamentary Control of Federal Intelligence Activities (reporting period November 2017 to September 2019) . Berlin November 18, 2019 ( BT-Drs. 19/15266 ).
  • German Bundestag (Ed.): Information by the Parliamentary Control Committee: Report on the control activities in accordance with Section 13 of the Act on Parliamentary Control of the Federal Intelligence Service (reporting period December 2015 to October 2017) . January 15, 2018 ( BT-Drs. 19/422 ).
  • German Bundestag: Scientific Services (Ed.): Elaboration: Parliamentary control of the intelligence services in the federal and state levels . October 10, 2012 ( WD 3 - 3000 - 108/12 (2nd current version) [PDF]).
  • German Bundestag: Parliamentary Control Committee (Ed.): Rules of Procedure . May 18, 2018 ( GO PKGr [PDF]).
  • Hansalek, Erik: The parliamentary control of the federal government in the area of ​​the intelligence services (Kölner Schriften zu Recht und Staat Volume 27). Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-631-54454-9 .
  • Hempel, Marcel: The Bundestag and the intelligence services - a redefinition by Art. 45d GG? (Writings on Public Law, Volume 1268). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-428-14353-5 .
  • Hirsch, Alexander: The parliamentary control of the intelligence services (writings on public law, volume 711). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-428-08823-9 .
  • Hörauf, Dominic: The Democratic Control of the Federal Intelligence Service - A Legal Comparison Before and After 9/11 (Constitutional Law in Research in Practice Volume 88). Kovač, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8300-5729-1 .
  • Neumann, Volker: The parliamentary control of the intelligence services in Germany , in: Nikolas Dörr and Till Zimmermann: The intelligence services of the Federal Republic of Germany . wvb, Berlin 2007. ISBN 978-3-86573-307-8 , S-13−34.
  • Jens Singer: Practical comment on the law on parliamentary control of federal intelligence activities: Control Committee Act - PKGrG . Springer, Berlin a. Heidelberg 2016, ISBN 978-3-662-46862-3 .
  • Waske, Stefanie: More liaison than control - the control of the BND by parliament and government 1955 - 1978 . VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-531-91390-2 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BVerfG, 2 BvE 5/06 of July 1, 2009.
  2. Control of the intelligence services - introduction. (No longer available online.) German Bundestag, archived from the original on February 2, 2014 ; accessed on January 22, 2014 .
  3. ^ German Bundestag - Parliamentary Control Committee - Rules of Procedure. In: German Bundestag. German Bundestag, May 18, 2018, accessed on December 12, 2018 .
  4. Thomas Wolf: The emergence of the BND. Structure, financing, control (= Jost Dülffer, Klaus-Dietmar Henke, Wolfgang Krieger, Rolf-Dieter Müller [eds.]: Publications of the Independent Commission of Historians for Researching the History of the Federal Intelligence Service 1945–1968 . Volume 9 ). 1st edition. Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-96289-022-3 , pp. 386 .
  5. Bodo V. Hechelhammer : Spy without borders. Heinz Felfe. Agent in seven secret services . Piper, Munich 2019, ISBN 978-3-492-05793-6 , pp. 228 .
  6. a b Helmut R. Hammerich : “Always on the enemy!” - The Military Shield Service (MAD) 1956–1990 . 1st edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen 2019, ISBN 978-3-525-36392-8 , pp. 93 .
  7. Helmut R. Hammerich : "Always on the enemy!" - The Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD) 1956–1990 . 1st edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen 2019, ISBN 978-3-525-36392-8 , pp. 92 .
  8. Parliamentary control body: Bundestag elects secret service controllers . ( [accessed on July 7, 2018]). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. "Secret service control again with the Left Party ( Memento from January 22, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Bundestag: AfD candidate fails in the election for the secret service body . In: Spiegel Online . January 18, 2018 ( [accessed January 18, 2018]).
  11. ^ Volker Müller: Roman Johannes Reusch elected to the parliamentary control committee . In: German Bundestag . ( [accessed February 1, 2018]).
  12. a b Marcel Fürstenau: Powerless secret service controllers. Deutsche Welle (online), August 19, 2013, accessed on August 26, 2013 : “The otherwise atypical public in which the committee has been moving for weeks is also extraordinary. Long before the start of the meeting, dozens of journalists are waiting for the parliamentary secret service inspectors and Angela Merkel's Chancellery Minister Ronald Pofalla [...]. "
  13. ^ "Sniff, bark and bite". , July 1, 2014, archived from the original on July 8, 2014 ; Retrieved July 2, 2014 .
  14. Taskforce is supposed to monitor secret services. Handelsblatt , July 1, 2014, accessed on July 2, 2014 .
  15. "Snoopers" against secret services. taz , July 1, 2014, accessed July 2, 2014 .
  17. Armin Schuster heads the Parliamentary Control Committee. In: . Bundestag, January 18, 2018, accessed on January 6, 2019 .
  18. 19th electoral term - Parliamentary Control Committee (PKGr). In: . Bundestag, accessed on January 6, 2019 .
  19. Burkhard Lischka. In: Retrieved October 30, 2019 .
  20. ^ Eva Högl elected Burkhard Lischka's successor. In: November 7, 2019, accessed November 11, 2019 .
  21. Bundestag votes on the composition of four bodies. German Bundestag , accessed on May 9, 2020 .
  22. 18th electoral term - Parliamentary Control Committee (PKGr). In: . Bundestag, accessed on January 6, 2019 .
  23. 17th electoral term - Members of the Parliamentary Control Committee (PKGr). In: . Bundestag, accessed on January 6, 2019 .
  24. 16th electoral term - The Parliamentary Control Committee (PKGr). In: . Bundestag, accessed on January 6, 2019 .
  25. Protection of the Constitution between reform and abolition. Stern , July 4, 2012, accessed July 2, 2014 .
  26. Secret services out of control: Who is actually monitoring the monitors? Daniel Leisegang, Federal Agency for Civic Education , accessed on July 2, 2014 .
  27. Much silence and too little information. Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 19, 2010, accessed on July 2, 2014 .
  28. ^ Neumann calls for a strengthening of the parliamentary control body. Die Zeit , December 14, 2005, accessed on July 2, 2014 .
  31. Answer of the federal government to the small question of the deputies Konstantin Kuhle , Jimmy Schulz , Manuel Höferlin , other deputies and the parliamentary group of the FDP - printed matter 19/1020 -
  32. ^ Wolfgang Nešković: PR instead of education. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Online), August 10, 2013, accessed on August 26, 2013 : "Instead of using the control body primarily as an election campaign platform, as is currently the case, the politicians there must take their control tasks seriously and finally make use of these rights."
  33. Parliamentary supervisory body. Bavarian State Parliament, accessed on August 26, 2013 .