Dutch TV program gets hold of confidential Europol docs

Europol building in The Hague
Europol building in The Hague. (OSeveno / Wikimedia Commons)

Television program Zembla managed to get hold of more than 700 pages of confidential information from Europol. The data is mostly from the period 2006 to 2008 and consists of hundreds of names and telephone numbers of people associated with terrorsim at that time. It also includes an analysis of the so-called Hofstad Group and the Madrid bombings, NU.nl reports.

Europol calls this leak a "very serious incident" and immediately launched an investigation into how it could have happened. According to Wil van Gemert, Deputy Director of Europol, the leak does not compromise ongoing Europol investigations and there is no evidence that other parties besides Zembla got hold of it. "But I can not exclude that for one hundred percent", he said, according to the newspaper. It is possible that some of the people named in the data are still subject of investigation.

The leak happened after an Europol employee who took confidential information home with her against the rules. There she made a copy of the info on a backup disc that was connected to the internet, without Europol's strict security. It is not clear why the woman did so, but Europol is investigating. The woman in question is no longer working for Europol. She now works for the Dutch National Police, who were informed of the situation by Europol. According to the European policing force, it is up to the Netherlands whether charges will be pressed.

A spokesperson for Europol told the newspaper that the organization "has a very robust system to protect information, but human error can never be entirely ruled out." This incident means that the safety protocols will be reexamined. Europol also works hard to make employees aware of security risks and "upgraded the Europol operrational network to even more accurately monitor who has access to information."