MPs want answers on US spy station in Friesland

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Members of Parliament want the minister of Defense, Hennis-Plasschaert, to explain what exactly the purpose is of equipment, owned by the American Defense Ministry, in Burum, Friesland.

The satellite station in Burum is roughly divided in two. On one side the National Sigint Organization (NSO) collects data from telecommunications for MIVD (Military Intelligence and Security Service) and AIVD (General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands). The other side is owned by an international company in satellite communication, Inmarsat.

Grondstation_Nationale_SIGINT_Organisatie_(NSO)_Burum
Wutsje, Wikimedia commons

The American ministry of Defense has communications equipment installed on this site, that is only accessible by Americans, local or abroad, with special clearance. It is of vital importance for the Americans to receive satellite service, to establish long-range communications. For that purpose United States Government Network (USGN) stations have been set up in the Netherlands and in Hawaii.

'There is no US Government owned equipment on the ground station of the Dutch Ministry of Defense. Inmarsat is a commercial company in satellite communications. It is not up to the ministry of Defense to answer questions about what is going on in industrial areas in the Netherlands,' said a spokesperson for the ministry.

The MP's want Hennis-Plasschaert to explain what it is exactly the Americans are using the equipment for. On the outside it looks like it's used for military purposes, but no one can be sure. After all, of late the U.S. has seized every opportunity for espionage.

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