Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Although a geographically small and economically insignificant state, the East German regime sustained a disproportionately large intelligence apparatus that included the notorious Stasi—an abbreviation of the  Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS; Ministry of State Security)—which employed 90,000 personnel and ran an estimated 150,000–180,000 informants. Within the Stasi, the largest branch was the Hauptverwaltung  Aufklärung (HVA), the overseas collection agency headed until 1986 by Markus Wolf, with a staff of 4,000, and then by Werner Grossmann. Although the HVA concentrated primarily on the Federal Republic of Germany, achieving considerable success in infiltrating agents into the government, it also operated worldwide, often as a surrogate for the KGB, with representatives posted overseas under diplomatic cover, with a special interest in Zanzibar.
Following the collapse of the Communist regime in 1989, the Stasi’s massive headquarters on the Normannenstrasse were looted, and a special commission, headed by Joachim Gauck, was created to process the vast collection of files and to declassify them. Keys to the most sensitive, encrypted dossiers were deposited in Moscow to keep them from falling into Western hands, but they were promptly sold to the  Central Intelligence Agency, which code-named them  ROSEWOOD. When word leaked to the Federal Republic that the CIA had acquired the ROSEWOOD data, a formal request was made for access to them, to which George Tenet eventually acceded in 2003.