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Plasterk mum on spying in Bonaire

THE HAGUE--Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk has informed the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament that he cannot respond publicly to reports that the Dutch secret service AIVD spied on Bonaire politicians.

He stated this in a letter he sent to Parliament on Tuesday. Parliament demanded a letter from the Dutch government last week Thursday after Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad revealed that the AIVD had spied on Ramonsito Booi and Burney El Hage of Bonaire's UPB party from 2005 to 2010.

"It is not possible for me to publicly react to the article since I can never make public statements on the operational affairs of the AIVD," stated Plasterk, adding that for this same reason, he could not publicly answer the written questions posed by Members of Parliament (MPs) Jeroen Recourt and Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA on this issue.

Plasterk stated that, in general, he could say that the AIVD operated within the framework of the Law on Intelligence and Security Agencies. The independent Supervisory Committee of Intelligence and Security Agencies CTIVD supervises the legitimacy of the AIVD operations, he said.

The Second Chamber has doubts whether the AIVD operations in Bonaire, carried out via an informant, were legal, as no permission had been sought from the government of the then-Netherlands Antilles. The operation also did not take place under the supervision of the Antillean security service VNA, which should have been the case.

Parliament is taking the matter very seriously. Several parties in Parliament already have announced that they will be bringing up the matter in today's debate on the draft 2014 budget of Kingdom Relations.

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