Agents providing extraordinarily valuable and unique information are invaluable assets of every intelligence service. Legislation enables the BIS to work with agents, i.e. with persons acting on behalf of the Service. Every citizen over 18 years of age can offer his/her services to the BIS, but in most cases the Service chooses the agents itself. The BIS uses agents for gathering information of interest to the Service falling in areas specified by law as lying within its powers and responsibilities.
By co-operating with the BIS a citizen expresses his relationship to his/her country and his/her courage. By co-operating with the BIS citizens help fight activities threatening the security, democracy and economic interests of the state, terrorism and organized crime. Agents are volunteers who often help the BIS for patriotic reasons. Co-operating with the Service gives them a feeling of actively participating in tackling serious societal issues. The Service never obtains agents on the basis of incriminating information, blackmail or threats. Coercion is not an option. A citizen co-operates with the BIS only if s/he voluntarily decides to do so.
The BIS has the legal duty to protect its agents and must not reveal their true identity under any circumstances. Furthermore, the Service must protect its agents from injury to their honor, life or property which might arise from the provision of their services or in connection with it. The protection of agents - information sources - limits open communication of the Service with the public. Even a seemingly insignificant reference to a certain case could expose and endanger an agent. That is why the BIS cannot always put an end to various speculations by providing clear explanations.