What happens among intelligence communities when two countries face a diplomatic crisis? This article looks at the interactions between the West German Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) and Israel's Mossad in a multilateral liaison called the Club de Berne after the Munich Olympics attack in September 1972. The article shows that these covert links were a means to overcome the crisis and served different functions for each side. For the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), which had been severely criticized after giving in to terrorist pressure, the BfV tried to prove to Israel its value as a security asset. For Israel, the Club de Berne allowed Mossad to send a covert message that aimed to pressure the FRG into a no-negotiation line. For both, the agencies could build on preexisting relations based on trust in the Club de Berne, which helped with the normalization process after the crisis. Although diplomatic and domestic policies after the Munich attack are well known, the intelligence dimension has thus far not been explored. The article offers a new way of thinking about covert diplomacy in theory and practice.

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