Dutch Minister of the Interior: so far, no new information concerning allegations that German BND spied on 71 KPN phone communication links on behalf of the NSA

On June 29th 2015, the Dutch Minister of the Interior sent a letter (.pdf, in Dutch) to the House of Representatives in response to a request from the House in the context of the allegations, made by Austrian MP Peter Pilz and reported (in Dutch) in May 2015, that 71 phone communication links (STM-1) of Dutch telco KPN were wiretapped by the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) on behalf of the NSA. The letter mostly refers to the ongoing investigation by the Dutch General Intelligence & Security Service (AIVD), but for the sake of completeness, here’s a translation (hyperlinks are mine):

On June 25th 2015, the House’s standing committee for the Interior asked me to respond to KPN’s statement about the wiretapping of its  telephony links by the German security service BND. Furthermore, the committee wants to know whether the BND has responded to the allegations, and whether the Netherlands carries out similar espionage on behalf of the NSA. Following the claims from Austrian MP Pilz, the AIVD is currently carrying out an investigation. In that context, consultations take place with mr. Pilz, the German authorities, and KPN. The AIVD also performs its own analysis.

KPN published a statement that mentions that the links named by Pilz start or end in the Netherlands. KPN can, on the basis of information in its own systems, not determine whether the links have in fact been wiretapped. The AIVD takes these findings into account in its investigation.

The German authorities reports that the Netherlands is not, and has not been, a target of the German BND. Previously, the director of the American NSA stated that the Netherlands is not a target of the NSA. I have informed the House on that.

Because the investigation is ongoing, it is too early to make conclusions concerning the claims by mr. Pilz. The Dutch intelligence & security services AIVD and the Military Intelligence & Security Service (MIVD) carry out their activities on the basis of the Dutch Intelligence & Security Act of 2002 (Wiv2002). The Dutch Review Committee on the Intelligence & Security Services (CTIVD) oversees the lawfulness of the execution of the Wiv2002. In CTIVD report 38 [2014, in Dutch], on telecommunications data processing, the CTIVD concluded that the AIVD and MIVD do not structurally collect (personal) data outside the legal framework.

On May 28th 2015, the House transferred a request from MP Voortman to the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for receiving a letter with a response to the claims by Austrian MP Pilz. When said investigation is completed, I will inform the House.

One may recall that Pilz also claimed that the Netherlands, France, Luxemburg an Austria were targets of BND spying during operation Eikonal in the period 2004-2008.

Also recall that it was a former chief of the German BND, mr. Hansjörg Geiger, who suggested to establish an “intelligence codex”, i.e., a no-spy agreement — for instance between a group of European countries — to mutually abstain from “political, economic and diplomatic” espionage. That proposal was included in Pieter Omtzigt’s PACE report on mass surveillance (.pdf). On March 3rd 2015, in response to a request from the House, the idea of a codex was rejected by the Dutch government.


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