General Intelligence and Security Service
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The General Intelligence and Security Service (Dutch: Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɑɫɣəmeːnə ˈɪnlɪxtɪŋə(n) ɛɱ ˈvɛiləxhɛidzdinst], formerly known as the Domestic Security Service (Dutch: Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst (BVD)), is the secret service of the Netherlands. The office is in Zoetermeer. Its predecessor was the 1945-1947 Bureau of National Security (Dutch: Bureau voor Nationale Veiligheid).
The AIVD focuses mostly on domestic non-military threats to Dutch national security, whereas the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) focuses on international threats, specifically military and government-sponsored threats such as espionage. The AIVD, unlike its predecessor BVD, is charged with collecting intelligence and assisting in combating both domestic and foreign threats to national security.
Oversight and accountability
The minister of internal affairs (and relations within the realm) is politically responsible for the AIVD's actions. Oversight is provided by two bodies:
- The Committee for the Intelligence and Security Services (Dutch: Commissie voor de Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdiensten, CIVD), comprising the leaders of all political parties represented in the Second Chamber of the Estates-General, although until 2009 The Socialist Party (SP) was not and did not want to be part of this committee.
- An Oversight Committee (Dutch: Commissie van Toezicht op de Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdiensten, CTIVD) appointed by the Second Chamber of the Estates-General.
The AIVD publishes an annual report which includes its budget. The published version contains redactions where information is deemed sensitive.
The AIVD can be forced by the courts to publish any records held on a private citizen, but it may keep secret information that is relevant to current cases. No information that is less than five years old will be provided under any circumstance to private citizens about their records.
Its main activities include
- monitoring specific groups, such as leftist activists, Islamic groups, and right-wing extremists
- sourcing intelligence to and from foreign and domestic intelligence services
- performing background checks on individuals employed in "positions of trust", specifically public office, and higher-up or privileged positions in industry (such as telecommunications, banks, the largest companies) – this ironically includes members of parliamentary oversight committees
- investigating incidents such as (terrorist) bombings and threats
- giving advice and warning about risks to national security, including advising on the protection of political figureheads
Its methods and authorities include
- telephone and internet taps authorized by the minister of internal affairs (as opposed to a court order)
- infiltration (rarely by employees of the service, but rather by outsiders who would have easy access to a particular group)
- the use of informants (existing members of groups that are recruited)
- open sources intelligence
- unfettered access to police intelligence
- the use of foreign intelligence service liaisons who reside in the Netherlands under a diplomatic status (including full diplomatic immunity) to collect intelligence in excess of the AIVD's authority
The latter is technically the same as sourcing intelligence from a foreign intelligence service; this method has not been confirmed.
The AIVD operates in tight concert with the Regional Intelligence Service (Regionale Inlichtingen Dienst, RID), to which members of the police are appointed in every police district. It also co-operates with over one hundred intelligence services. Given the small size of the Netherlands, the latter co-operation is not likely to be symmetrical.
The service has been criticized for
- Soon after the arrest of the Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat, who has been convicted of complicity in war crimes for selling raw materials for the production of chemical weapons to Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein, Dutch newspapers reported that van Anraat had been an informer of the Dutch secret service AIVD and has enjoyed AIVD's protection.
- letting go of Abdul Qadeer Khan, who stole Dutch nuclear knowledge and used it for Pakistan to produce its nuclear bomb. However, former prime minister of the Netherlands Ruud Lubbers claimed in 2005 that this was done on a foreign request.
- not having enough focus and intelligence on Islamic groups, particularly following the September 11, 2001 attacks and the murder of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri, a member of the Hofstad Network of Islamist terrorism
- not having enough focus and intelligence on political violence or environmental groups, particularly following the murder of Pim Fortuyn by an environmental radical
- delivering hand grenades to members of the Hofstadgroep through alleged informer Saleh Bouali
- investigating family members of the Queen that had had a family rift (Princess Margarita and Edwin De Roy van Zuydewijn), though this was not ordered by the minister of internal affairs, but rather by the Queen's office
- losing a laptop and a floppy disk with classified information from a regional office of the AIVD. The disk was found by an employee of a car rental agency, and subsequently given to Dutch crime-journalist Peter R. de Vries. Information on the disks indicated that the service collected information on Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and members of his party, as well as on left-wing activists. Among other things, the documents accuse Pim Fortuyn of having sex with underage Moroccan boys.
During the Cold War the BVD had a reputation for interviewing potential employers of persons they deemed suspicious for any reason, thereby worrying corporations about the employment of these persons. Reasons for being suspect included leftist ideals, membership of the Dutch Communist Party, or a spotty military record (such as being a conscientious objector with regard to conscription), although no evidence of the latter has ever been produced.
Influence and results
Before 2001, the Netherlands had the largest absolute number of wiretaps in the world.
The service's focus on leftist activism is legendary; leftist activists exhibit great measures of paranoia relating to the service's activities, whether real or imaginary. This focus on leftist, rather than right-wing or Islamic organizations, is a legacy from the Cold War and historical threats posed by RaRa, the Red Army Faction, and such. Some substance was lent to such paranoia by the confirmation that the Marxist-Leninist Party of the Netherlands was a fake organization set up and entirely controlled by the security service.
It is likely that the AIVD has significant influence in police and prosecution circles, given recent cases where suspected terrorists were prosecuted (and found not guilty) or successfully extradited (Mullah Krekar) without credible non-secret evidence.
- "Agnes Kant over toetreding tot 'Commissie Stiekem". NOS.nl.
- John Pike (2005-08-09). "CIA asked us to let nuclear spy go, Ruud Lubbers claims". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "Geschiedenis 24 - Voorgoed ongeschikt". Geschiedenis.vpro.nl. 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-02-14.