Elite military unit protecting Geert Wilders after security leak scandal

Geert Wilders surrounded by bodyguards, Spijkenesse Feb 2017
Geert Wilders surrounded by bodyguards, Spijkenesse Feb 2017. (Photo: Peter van der Sluijs / Wikimedia Commons)

An elite team of soldiers was deployed to help protect PVV leader Geert Wilders, the Telegraaf reported on Wednesday based on its own sources. According to the newspaper, members of the Defense team Special Security Missions Brigade (BSB) have been guarding the PVV leader for a few days already.

The Ministry of Security and Justice would not confirm these reports to the newspaper. The Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that forms part of the Dutch military, would also not comment on the matter. The BSB falls under the Koninklijke Marechaussee.

According to the newspaper, the BSB took over a number of tasks from the National Police's Safety and Security Service, which is responsible for guarding members of the Royal family and threatened politicians like Wilders. The Service fell into disrepute last week when one of its members, Faris K., was arrested on suspicion of leaking confidential information to criminals. K. worked on the Wilders team as a scout, but not as a personal body guard as was initially reported.

After hearing this news, Wilders announced that he doesn't feel safe and will therefore not be participating in any public events while campaigning for the parliamentary elections later this month. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Justice Minister Stef Blok both assured Wilders that his safety was not compromised by the information leak, but to no avail.

The BSB functions as an arrest and observation team, according to broadcaster NOS. The unit's responsibilities include guarding embassies in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. BSB members also act as body guards to important Dutch officials, politicians and guests. The difference between a BSB guard and Safety and Security Service guard is that the BSB guard has a military background. Those working for the Safety and Security Service have a police background.