The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is the Federal Republic of Germany's domestic security agency. Together with the Landesämter für Verfassungsschutz at the state level, it is tasked with intelligence-gathering on threats concerning the democratic order, the existence and security of the federation or one of its states, and the peaceful coexistence of peoples; with counter-intelligence; and with protective security and counter-sabotage. The BfV reports to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Since 1 August 2012, the agency has been headed by Hans-Georg Maaßen.
The BfV is overseen by the Federal Ministry of the Interior as well as the Bundestag, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information and other federal institutions. The Federal Minister of the Interior has administrative and functional control of the BfV. Parliamentary control is exercised by the Bundestag in general debate, question times and urgent inquires, as well as by its committees, most notably the Parliamentary Control Committee and the G10 Commission. The BfV is also under judicial control and all its activities can be legally challenged in court. Based on the right of information, the general public can direct inquiries and petitions at the BfV.
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