Plasterk and Hennis on thin ice with Rutte
Ministers Ronald Plasterk (Internal Affairs) and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (Defense) were sent for by Prime Minister Mark Rutte for an emergency discussion about the way in which they informed Parliament about the monitoring operations of the information services. The meeting in the Tower was meant for talks and coordination on matters, sources around the Binnenhof said. There were concerned reactions in Parliament on the strong criticism against Plasterk in the House of Parliament. Sources who spoke to RTL Nieuws are taking into account "serious political problems" for him.
Wednesday, it became public that Dutch information services collected 1.8 million bits of data from satellite- and radio communication. In November, the PvdA politician actually claimed that the NSA took the information. In truth, it was the NSO (Nationale SIGINT Organisatie). Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher(PvdA) said in the television programme Pauw en Witteman that he spoke to Plasterk about the issue. Plasterk said that it concerned telephone conversations that were intercepted by the military information service MIVD in war areas. This is not in line with the law. Plasterk himself did not want to speak to the media on Wednesday. Asscher did not want to confirm that the so-called Commissie Stiekem (Or Commission Sneaky/Secretively) came together on Wednesday. In this commission, faction presidents are spoken to secretly about developments around the information services. In The Hague, it is becoming apparent that there are serious political problems in the wings for Plasterk. The House of Parliament was critical on wednesday, about the explanation the minister offered. Various parties are admittedly not under the impression that Plasterk knows how the Dutch information services operate.
A debate will be held on Tuesday about the issue. Plasterk will have to explain why he did not inform Parliament earlier that the Netherlands itself records telephone conversations.