America listened in to the Netherlands in 1946, MPs want answers

The American intelligence services have been listening in to the Netherlands since 1946, the NRC reported at the weekend, quoting documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NRC says the documents show the US listened in to Dutch telecommunications between 1946 and 1968 even though the Netherlands was considered a key partner.

They also show the US wanted to keep this information secret because of the potential impact on the relationship between the two countries. Germany, Belgium and France were also monitored, the paper states.


The paper does not make clear what was monitored and what the aims of the monitoring were. Nor is it clear from the documents if the monitoring stopped in 1968, the NRC said.

Dutch home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk told MPs in October NSA may operate in the Netherlands but needs permission from the Dutch security organisation AIVD before doing so. 

However, earlier in October Dutch website Tweakers reported that the American National Security Agency (NSA) had collected information on 1.8 million Dutch telephone calls in one month alone as part of its Boundless Informant surveillance programme. 

D66 MP Gerard Schouw told the Volkskrant on Saturday he wanted to know what Plasterk plans to do about the role of the US spy service and to what extent the US is still involved in surveillance in the Netherlands.


The NRC also says the NSA infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with software designed to steal sensitive information.

The NRC says a NSA management presentation dating from 2012 explains how the spy service collects information and shows that it uses ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ in more than 50,000 locations. The Washington Post earlier put the total at 20,000 in 2008.

NSA’s own website explains CNE as ‘enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks’

Read the NRC article (in English)

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