Dutch intelligence services monitor phone calls

Updated: 2014-02-06 03:33


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THE HAGUE - The Dutch intelligence and security services have collected data on 1.8 million phone calls, text messages, mail traffic and browsing habits by the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.

The information was revealed by Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk and Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis in a letter addressed to the parliament on Wednesday.

Late October, Plasterk stated that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) was responsible for intercepting the reported 1.8 million phone calls, text messages, mail traffic and browsing habits.

He said that in a response to an article in German weekly Der Spiegel, which published a graph showing that the NSA had metadata of 1.8 million Dutch phone calls in a period of one month.

Now Plasterk has confirmed that the National Sigint Organization (NSO), which stands for Signals Intelligence, collected the information on behalf of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service AIVD and the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service MIVD. The data were forwarded to the NSA.

The information was mainly collected for counter-terrorism and Dutch military operations abroad. It involved metadata, with information on who contacted whom, in areas of Dutch military missions, such as Afghanistan and Mali. The data were "legitimately shared with the United States," Plasterk and Hennis wrote in the letter to the parliament.

The U-turn of Plasterk led to uproar in the parliament, with the position of the minister being questioned. On Tuesday a debate is planned on the matter.