Monday , March 27 2023

Home affairs minister under fire over security service phone taps

Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk and defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert were summoned by the prime minister on Wednesday night to explain the confusion over exactly who gathered information on 1.8 million phone calls and text messages.
The ministers told parliament yesterday the Dutch, not the American, secret services were responsible for monitoring the phone calls, and that the information had then been shared with the US authorities.
Parliament is due to debate the latest information next week. Opposition MPs want to know if Plasterk deliberately misinformed parliament last year when he stated NSA was behind the information gathering.

First published
Plasterk told MPs in October the Americans were behind the tapping, after the revelations were first published in German magazine Spiegel.
However, in a two paragraph briefing on Wednesday, Plasterk said the information had been gathered by the Netherlands itself.
‘The details were collected in the interest of counter-terrorism activities and military operations abroad,’ the briefing stated. The information was then ‘correctly shared with the US’.

Plasterk came only in the open with this information in a letter to the parliament, after it had become inevitable that the facts would be mentioned in a court case anyway.

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