‘Following unclarity about several layoffs, unrest among personnel of Dutch intelligence service AIVD’

On March 28th 2015, Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad published a piece (in Dutch) about the Dutch General Intelligence & Security Service (AIVD). Here is a translation:

‘Explosive situation’ on the workplace of the AIVD

by Tom-Jan Meeus

An “explosive situation” has emerged on the workplace of the AIVD as result of a series of wrong political decisions and mistakes by the management. This says former AIVD employee Kees Jan Dellebeke (63) today in NRC Handelsblad.

Dellebeke worked at the AIVD until 2012, for 39 years, in almost all important functions — such as counterespionage and undercover operations —, as well as for its predecessor, the BVD. He still has contact with his former colleagues.

Dellebeke states that AIVD employees recently responded furiously (“this is a shitpile”) when the AIVD management cut down a discussion on the AIVD’s intranet.

Agents fired who would be vulnerable to blackmail

The discussion emerged after at least five secret agents where fired, among others because they would be vulnerable to blackmail due to a divorce or mortgage debt. Their colleagues asked what criteria the management used for that, says Dellebeke. When the management turned out not to apply clear and precise rules, unrest escalated on the intranet, Dellebeke states.

After this, the management felt necessitate “to apply means of force to keep the personnel in line”.

Dellebeke states that the unusual intensity of this conflict follows from internal problems at the AIVD since the cabinet in 2012 decides to cut a third of the service’s budget. Meanwhile, these cuts have been undone under the threat of muslim terrorism, but the negative effects are still felt, says Dellebeke.

‘Best people left the AIVD’

Those cuts resulted in “departure of the best people” at the AIVD, while in addition the ‘central education for secret agent’ was closed, says Dellebeke. The result is that, now that the service is hiring again, mostly young people are at work that lack professional know-how. A “brain drain”, according to Dellebeke. He also states that the head of the AIVD, Rob Bertholee, lacks an “intelligence vision” that “all those uncertain employees yearn for”. The AIVD declined to comment.

Members of parliament already announced they will submit questions about this to the Minister of the Interior, who is responsible for the AIVD.