Plasterk remains confident of support

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In the hot seat over revelations that Government eavesdropped on private phone calls, Home Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk says he is still confident he has the support from the Cabinet.

“We will be quietly preparing for our responses Monday to the written questions,” Plasterk told journalists today as he was heading into the Council of Ministers meeting. The Second Chamber is set to debate the matter on Tuesday. Plasterk has been under fire since his surprise letter to the Second Chamber Wednesday, in which he stated that it was the Dutch Intelligence Services and not the United States’ National Security Authority (NSA) that had collected 1.8 million local phone calls that is in the possession of the NSA. The Minister had initially claimed he did not know how NSA came to the metadata and condemned the collection of foreign data by the USA. In the trenches with him is Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis who co-signed the letter, who has since refrained from making more statements. Hennis said she wanted to inform the Chamber first, but stressed her views do not differ from Plasterk’s. The Ministers have since been summoned by Prime Minister Mark Rutte to discuss the issue, but it seems they indeed do have support from the Cabinet. Minister Henk Kamp (Economic Affairs) said today that despite the pressure that Plasterk has found himself under, the matter has not caused a crisis in the cabinet. MInister Frans Timmermans of Foreign Affairs expressed similar sentiments. After Plasterk’s revelations Wednesday, several politicians hinted that as far as they are concerned the issue creates distrust.

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