Dutch PM clashed with security services over visible protection: report
Prime Minister Mark Rutte clashed heatedly with the security services last month after signals were received that he was being targeted by organized crime, sources told newspaper AD. Despite the security services' insistence that he be secured, Rutte refused to take on any visible security, according to the newspaper.
The intelligence services got the information that Rutte was being watched by spotters in organized crime, and that he may be attacked or killed, in early September, according to AD. As Rutte is very visible in and around the Binnenhof in The Hague - the fact that he prefers to cycle to work and walk between meetings is known even internationally - the security services wanted to give him visible security during his bike rides and walks, and asked him to become slightly less visible.
Only, Rutte didn't want to. The caretaker Prime Minister did not think the information concrete enough and he did not want visible security, insiders told the newspaper. He also did not want to stop taking his bike to work. "He just wants to be able to appear on the street, and I understand that," AD's source said. "But it was still considered sensible to cooperate. Because you can protect yourself in a lot of different ways."
Rutte's refusal for extra security led to annoyance within the security services, who internally complained that the Prime Minister was putting his own interests ahead of the national interest, according to AD. Very recently, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, the National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and Security (NCTV), met with Rutte and convinced him to accept at least some extra security measures. Since then, extra guards from the Royal and Diplomatic Security Service (DKDB) were deployed to keep watch over the Prime Minister.
Crime reporter John van den Heuvel called the threats against Rutte the latest in the wave of violence that is increasingly resembling "a kind of narco-terrorism", speaking to Radio 538 Ochtendshow. "There's been an, unfortunately very sad, tendency for some time to also harm people who do not come from the criminal environment. Think of the brother of key witness Nabil B., his lawyer Derk Wiersum, and very recently, of course, my colleague Peter R. de Vries," Van den Heuvel said. "They are actually trying to sow fear and division in society and an attack or something else against the Prime Minister would of course fit perfectly."
The fact that Rutte now also needs extra security is confirmation that tougher action is needed against organized crime, Van den Heuvel said. "You now see incidents related to organized crime almost every week. This is going from bad to worse," he said, adding that the government's response to this problem has been "quite naive".
The Cabinet proposed an annual increase of 434 million euros for the Ministry of Justice and Security to tackle the criminal underworld, with an additional 90 million euros to be spent on this area just in 2022. It also proposed raising the annual budget of the MIVD, the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service, by 15 million euros.
The Dutch Safety Board is currently investigating the handling of security issues related to the assassination of Peter R. de Vries. A committee was also established to determine how well threats against people are monitored, and how well threatened people are protected