Spy suspect “divulged state secrets to Morocco for years”

A Dutch courtroom. Photo: Odi Busman

A member of the anti-terrorism taskforce NCTV suspected of divulging classified information to Morocco for years had some 928 documents in his possession, including 345 documents from secret service AIVD and 65 from military intelligence service MIVD, the public prosecution service  said at a preliminary hearing.

The man, 64-year-old Ab el M, was arrested at Schiphol airport in October last year when travelling to Morocco. He was found to be carrying a “massive number’ of data storage devices containing over 100 classified documents of which 23 contained state secrets, covering the period between 2007 and 2023, the prosecution office said.

The justice department was alerted to the man’s illicit activities by the AIVD which filmed M printing and bagging classified information.

The AIVD also found M was in regular contact with the head of the Moroccan counter-espionage unit who also arranged his frequent flights to Morocco.

One of the AIVD documents, from 2021, contained an analysis of the activities of the Moroccan secret service in the Netherlands, which could “damage vital Dutch interests if made public”, the prosecution office said.

M’s contacts with the Moroccan secret service date back as far as 1995, the prosecution office said.

M, who may spend up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was not present at the hearing. He invoked his right to silence, his lawyer said, because his former police and secret service work bind him to confidentiality.

A woman who was also arrested in connection with the case, and who allegedly helped M print the documents from the AIVD and MIVD computers, maintained she did not know what M wanted with the documents. She has been released but remains a suspect.

The prosecuting officer said the investigation would take at least a year. “There are some 46 terabytes of information on the devices, the equivalent of 11.5 billion A4 pages,” he said.

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