Crucial day for Plasterk

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No image availableNL Times

Today is a crucial day for Ronald Plasterk (PvdA, Internal Affairs). He has to explain himself in the House of Parliament for the collection of 1.8 million telephone details by Dutch information services. 

It is now a question if Plasterk will survive the debate.

Minister of Defense Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Plasterk had to defend themselves last week with Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD), because Hennis openly slighted her colleague. Plasterk blamed the American NSA for phone data collection last year October.

Hennis contradicted him. In the letter that they sent to Parliament, it appears that they were both informed on 22 November.

While Plasterk and Hennis already knew in November that the AIVD and MIVD were responsible, they only decided to publicize this information last year. They also didn't inform 'commissie stiekem' with fraction presidents, of their knowledge.

On 30 October, on the television programme Nieuwsuur, Plasterk said that it was the NSA that collected metadata. In the letter sent o Parliament, it states: "Looking back on this, the minister of Internal Affairs thinks that he should have omitted this possible explanation."

Plasterk and Hennis previously decided not to inform the House of Parliament, because of "the importance for the state not to reveal the possible modus operandi of our services."

The ministers were ultimately urged to make the information public due to the matter 'Burgers tegen Plasterk' (or, Citizens versus Plasterk). The group of citizens and interests organizations accuse Plasterk because of the "whitewashing of information." Hereby, the truth would surface anyway.

Opinions are divided on whether or not Plasterk will actually survive the debate. Previous PvdA-minister Bram Peper tells de Volkskrant that Plasterk will have to enter into the debate with a "frank mea culpa." He thinks that Plasterk may get away with it if he does so.

Ex-minister Hans Wiegel (VVD) is not only asking himself if the coalition- and opposition-parties will want to keep Plasterk: "It is the question if it is wise of the minister to want to stay."