The Netherlands, not USA, gathered info from 1.8 million phone calls

The Dutch security service was responsible for collecting information from about 1.8 million telephone calls and text messages at the end of 2012 and in early 2013, ministers have told parliament.

Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk told MPs in October the Americans were behind the tapping, after the revelations were first published in German magazine Spiegel.

However, in a two paragraph briefing on Wednesday, Plasterk and defence minister Jeanine Hennis said the information had been gathered by the Netherlands itself.


‘The details were collected in the interest of counter-terrorism activities and military operations abroad,’ the briefing stated. The information was then ‘correctly shared with the US’.

Nos television journalist Joost Vullings said the revelations are painful for Plasterk because of his October statement.

‘He did not know at the time it was his own information,’ Vullings told Nos radio. ‘And it is painful that it has taken him so long to find out exactly what was going on.’


MPs have already called for an explanation of the mix-up. D66 parliamentarian Gerard Schouw said he wants to know why it is necessary to collect information about 1.8 million phone calls.

‘How many terrorists does the minister think are walking around the Netherlands?’ he commented to news agency ANP. ‘This is out of all proportion.’

A spokesman for Plasterk told the Volkskrant the data traffic which had been monitored was not phone calls or text messages between Dutch mobile phones, as had been implied last year.

Instead the information was gathered from satellite and radio-based phone calls, messages and emails, the paper says.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation