Annual Report 2009

This annual report is a public account of the activities of the General Intelligence and Security Service (Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst, AIVD) in 2009. It also enables the AIVD to provide an overview of its observations, actions and achievements across the full scope of its professional activities. Through this report, and within the limits of what is possible for a “secret” service, we hope to offer an insight into our work and into the contribution we make to a safe and secure society.

To an increasing extent, jihadist terrorists are operating internationally and are being inspired, directed, instructed, trained and financed from abroad. The threat to the Netherlands has acquired a strong international dimension and is also emanating from new regions, such as Somalia and Yemen. Events in or relating to the Netherlands can give rise to an international threat and, conversely, events abroad can have direct political and economic repercussions for our country. In this light, co-operation with foreign intelligence and security services is vital, and the services are very aware of their interdependence. An important part of the AIVD’s information originates from partner services abroad or is gathered in operational partnership with them. The AIVD, in turn, makes an important contribution to European and international security.

AIVD publications about the risks of Salafism and measures taken subsequently by the government, including local authorities, have helped increase resilience to radicalisation within the Dutch Muslim community. A major source of potential jihadist terrorism has thus declined, with the result that growth of the Salafist movement in the Netherlands is stagnating. Nonetheless, that movement continues to oppose integration and foster intolerance towards Dutch society.

The AIVD intensified its investigation of animal rights extremism in 2009. The service’s focus upon these activities, as well as those on the far right and left of the political spectrum, resulted in more official reports to the Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie, OM) as well as generating information for local governments, companies and individuals who could become the targets. There were also multiple and early contacts with the police and local authorities about planned extremist acts.

Investigation into espionage by other countries has also been reinforced, and has helped to check specific activities of this kind. Sharing information with partner services abroad has prevented several hostile intelligence officers from entering the Netherlands or other countries. Furthermore, the AIVD has notified various bodies – including government departments, local authorities, international organisations, companies and academic and scientific institutions – that they are potential or actual targets for intelligence activities.

The pace of technological progress has increased enormously in recent years, with developments succeeding one another more and more quickly. Examples range from the growing use of biometric data and encryption on the one hand to an intensification of cyberattacks on the other. In the near future, the AIVD will face the significant challenge of keeping up with and anticipating these developments in an operational setting. This technological race is going to require substantial investment over the next few years if the service is to keep its response up to the required standard. In times of rapid technological development, threats that are difficult to comprehend and a high degree of uncertainty, the AIVD must be able to identify new potential and actual risks to national security. At the same time, it must not focus too long or too deeply on certain phenomena. Following on from the growth of recent years, organisational change was needed to better manage the service, to enable it to work more efficiently and – in particular – to allow it to operate more flexibly and effectively. I am confident that the reorganisation carried out in 2009 will help the AIVD to perform its tasks more effectively and efficiently.

This year we celebrate the 65th anniversary of our organisation. On 29 May 1945, shortly after the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of the Second World War, the Bureau for National Security was established to conduct “all activities pertaining to the internal and external security of the nation”. Today, six-and-a-half decades later, the AIVD continues to safeguard national security and protect Dutch democracy. Focusing upon the information needs of our government and public sector, whilst at the same providing information, analyses and advice of use to our partners and keeping an eye on the social and political environment, we operate at all times from a position of professional independence.

Gerard Bouman

Head of the General Intelligence and Security Service