General Intelligence and Security Service

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Algemene Inlichtingen-en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), formerly known as the BVD (Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst, Domestic Security Service) is the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands. The office is in Leidschendam-Voorburg.


[edit] About this information

Since the AIVD is a secret service it is hard to verify information contained on this page. The AIVD's website (including its annual reports), and occasional answers to questions in parliament are the only official sources of information available. The following is further based on media reports.

[edit] Mission

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 combatting both domestic and foreign threats to national security.

Since the murder of Theo van Gogh and the discovery of the Hofstad Network, AIVD has refocused on the Islamic Fundamentalist threat to Dutch society.

[edit] 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 the Intelligence Committee of parliament, comprising the speakers for the biggest four parties in the second chamber of parliament (cf. Congress, Commons), and by an Oversight Committee with members appointed by parliament.

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.

[edit] Activities

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

[edit] Methods and authorities

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 (such as CIA personnel) that 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, conversely however, Dutch citizens have been extradited to the US on the basis of evidence provided by diplomats. Since the US constitution does not apply in The Netherlands, but long arm statutes do, these agents were unconcerned with whether their activities constituted entrapment.

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, including the CIA. Given the small size of the Netherlands, the latter co-operation is not likely to be symmetrical.

[edit] Criticism

  • 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. [1]

The service has been criticized for

  • letting go of Abdul Qadeer Khan, who stole Dutch nuclear knowledge and used it for Pakistan to produce its nuclear bomb. (Under pressure of the CIA)
  • 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 Islamic extremist 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 members of his party, as well as on left-wing activists. Among other things, the documents accuse Pim Fortuyn of having sex with under age 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 on 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[2].

[edit] Influence and results

Before September 11th the Netherlands had the largest absolute number of wiretaps in the world, more even than the US (although international calls to and from the US never needed any court order to be intercepted and were not included in the figures). To this day it is a widely held belief that requests for wiretaps by the AIVD are always granted.

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.

The AIVD has close ties with the American CIA since The Netherlands and The U.S. have been very good friends for a long period of time. 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.

Today the AIVD is believed to be one of the most effective secret services of Europe, although there is very little known about the AIVD. Some ex-employees are now working for the CIA and NRO.

[edit] External links

fr:Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst nl:Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst

General Intelligence and Security Service

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