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Secret Service Agents Arrested, Journalist's Home Raided

June 19, 2009

NIS News Bulletin - Den Bosch,Netherlands
 
AMSTERDAM, 19/06/09 - The police yesterday arrested a staff member of the AIVD secret service and a former AIVD staff member on suspicion of leaking state secrets to De Telegraaf newspaper. They also raided the home of De Telegraaf journalist Jolande van der Graaf.
 
The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) announced in a press release that the AIVD agents are suspected of having twice leaked state secret information to Van der Graaf. This led to articles in De Telegraaf on 28 March ('AIVD failed on Iraq') and 4 June ('Dalai Lama threatened'). The first publication was about the role of the AIVD in the runup to the war in Iraq. The second described the security for the Dalai Lama during his recent visit to the Netherlands.
 
The OM also carried out searches at the homes of the AIVD agents and the journalist. In connection with the ongoing investigation, it could give "no further information about the results of these investigatory actions". The arrested suspects are under complete restriction. "That means they are not allowed to communicate with third parties, with the exception of their lawyer."
 
De Telegraaf is furious about the raid of Van der Graaf's home. Chief editor Sjuul Paradijs notes that in 2006, two of his newspaper's journalists were arrested in an OM attempt to get behind a leak from the AIVD. "This is the umpteenth attack on press freedom."
 
On behalf of the entire Dutch newsprint press, Arendo Joustra also expressed his indignation. He is chairman of the Netherlands Society of Chief Editors. "It is unheard of in a democracy for a journalist who is simply doing her job to be raided by the government in her own home."
 
The OM should actually be thankful to De Telegraaf, argues Joustra, himself chief editor of Elsevier magazine. "Through the publications of De Telegraaf, the secret service knows that its own organisation is not watertight. (...) Information from sources must be safe with journalists, otherwise they will not be given any more stories."
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