General Intelligence and Security Service

The General Intelligence and Security Service (Dutch: Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɑlɣəmeːnə ˈʔɪnlɪxtɪŋə(n) ɛn ˈvɛiləxɦɛitsdinst]) is the Intelligence and Security agency of the Netherlands, tasked with Domestic, Foreign and Signals Intelligence and protecting national security.

General Intelligence and Security Service
Dutch: Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst
Logo of the General Intelligence and Security Service
Gebouw AIVD Zoetermeer.jpeg

Building of the General Intelligence and Security Service
Agency overview
Formed30 May 2002
  • Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst
HeadquartersEuropaweg 4, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
Annual budget€ 249.167.000 (2018)
Minister responsible
Agency executives
  • Dick Schoof, Director-General
  • Marja Horstman, Deputy Director-General
Parent departmentMinistry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Website(in English) General Intelligence and Security Service


Its predecessor was the 1945–1947 Bureau of National Security (Dutch: Bureau voor Nationale Veiligheid and later known as the Domestic Security Service (Dutch: Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst (BVD)). For the gathering of intelligence abroad, the Foreign Intelligence Service (Buitenlandse Inlichtingendienst or BID, renamed to Inlichtingendienst Buitenland (IDB) in 1972) had existed since 1946. This service was located in Villa Maarheeze in Wassenaar, just north of The Hague. IDB was dissolved in 1994 after heavy internal turmoil. The foreign intelligence task was eventually handed over to the BVD, which in doing so turned into a combined Intelligence and Security Service. For this reason, it was rebranded Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD) on 29 May 2002 .


The AIVD focuses mostly on domestic non-military threats to Dutch national security, whereas the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) focuses on international threats, specifically military and government-sponsored threats such as espionage. The AIVD, its predecessor BVD, is charged with collecting intelligence and assisting in combating domestic and foreign threats to national security.

Oversight and accountability

The Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is politically responsible for the AIVD's actions. Oversight is provided by three bodies:

  • A review board for the use of special powers by intelligence and security services (Dutch: Toetsingscommissie Inzet Bevoegdheden, TIB) appointed by the Second Chamber of the States General.
  • An oversight committee (Dutch: Commissie van Toezicht op de Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdiensten, CTIVD) also appointed by the Second Chamber of the States General.
  • The Committee for the Intelligence and Security Services (Dutch: Commissie voor de Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdiensten, CIVD), comprising the leaders of all political parties represented in the Second Chamber of the States General, although until 2009 the Socialist Party (SP) was not and did not want to be part of this committee.[1]

The AIVD publishes an annual report which includes its budget. The published version contains redactions where information is deemed sensitive.

The AIVD can be forced by the courts to publish any records held on a private citizen, but it may keep secret information that is relevant to current cases. No information that is less than five years old will be provided under any circumstance to private citizens about their records.


Its main activities include:

  • monitoring specific people and groups of people, such as political extremists and Islamic extremists
  • sourcing intelligence to and from foreign and domestic intelligence services
  • performing background checks on individuals employed in "positions of trust," specifically public office and higher-up or privileged positions in industry (such as telecommunications, banks, and the largest companies) – this ironically includes members of parliamentary oversight committees
  • investigating incidents such as terrorist bombings and threats
  • giving advice and warning about risks to national security, including advising on the protection of national leadership
  • Netherlands National Communications Security Agency, advising on communication security for government users

Methods and authorities

Its methods and authorities include:

  • telephone and internet taps authorized by the minister of internal affairs (as opposed to a court order)
  • infiltration (rarely by employees of the service, but rather by outsiders who would have easy access to a particular group)
  • the use of informants (existing members of groups that are recruited)
  • open sources intelligence
  • unfettered access to police intelligence
  • the use of foreign intelligence service liaisons who reside in the Netherlands under a diplomatic status (including full diplomatic immunity) to collect intelligence in excess of the AIVD's authority

The latter is technically the same as sourcing intelligence from a foreign intelligence service; this method has not been confirmed.

The AIVD operates in tight concert with the Regional Intelligence Service (Regionale Inlichtingen Dienst, RID), to which members of the police are appointed in every police district. It also co-operates with over one hundred intelligence services.


The service has been criticized for:

  • Soon after the arrest of the Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat, who has been convicted of complicity in war crimes for selling raw materials for the production of chemical weapons to Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein, Dutch newspapers reported that van Anraat had been an informer of the Dutch secret service AIVD and has enjoyed AIVD's protection.
  • letting go of Abdul Qadeer Khan, who stole Dutch nuclear knowledge and used it for Pakistan to produce its nuclear bomb. However, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Ruud Lubbers claimed in 2005 that this was done on a foreign request.[2]
  • not having enough focus and intelligence on Islamic groups, particularly following the September 11, 2001, attacks and the murder of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri, a member of the Hofstad Network of Islamist terrorism
  • not having enough focus and intelligence on political violence or environmental groups, particularly following the murder of Pim Fortuyn by an environmental radical
  • delivering hand grenades to members of the Hofstadgroep through alleged informer Saleh Bouali
  • investigating family members of the Queen that had had a family rift (Princess Margarita and Edwin De Roy van Zuydewijn), though this was not ordered by the minister of internal affairs, but rather by the Queen's office
  • losing a laptop and a floppy disk with classified information from a regional office of the AIVD. The disk was found by an employee of a car rental agency, and subsequently given to Dutch crime-journalist Peter R. de Vries. Information on the disks indicated that the service collected information on Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and members of his party, as well as on left-wing activists. Among other things, the documents accuse Pim Fortuyn of having sex with underage Moroccan boys.

During the Cold War the BVD had a reputation for interviewing potential employers of persons they deemed suspicious for any reason, thereby worrying corporations about the employment of these persons. Reasons for being suspect included leftist ideals, membership of the Dutch Communist Party, or a spotty military record (such as being a conscientious objector with regard to conscription), although no evidence of the latter has ever been produced.[3]

Influence and results

It is often said that the Netherlands has the largest absolute number of wiretaps and internet taps in the world,[4][5][6][7][8] but that refers to police wiretaps, and Dutch police rarely uses other observation methods, like infiltration or bugging houses.

It is likely that the AIVD has significant influence in police and prosecution circles, given recent cases of suspected terrorists being prosecuted (and found not guilty) or successfully extradited (Mullah Krekar) without credible non-secret evidence.

Cozy Bear

On January 25, 2018 Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant and TV program Nieuwsuur reported that in 2014 the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) successfully infiltrated the computers of Cozy Bear and observed the hacking of the head office of the Democratic National Committee and subsequently The White House and were the first to alert the National Security Agency (NSA) about the cyber-intrusion.[9]


  1. ^ "Agnes Kant over toetreding tot 'Commissie Stiekem". Nederlandse Omroep Stichting. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26.
  2. ^ John Pike (2005-08-09). "CIA asked us to let nuclear spy go, Ruud Lubbers claims". Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  3. ^ "Voorgoed ongeschikt". Geschiedenis 24. 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  4. ^ One in 1000 Dutch phones wiretapped, Amsterdam Herald
  5. ^ Weiner, Eric (14 February 2006). "Wiretapping, European-Style" – via Slate.
  6. ^ Police phone taps now automatically include internet,
  7. ^ "Dutch parliament questions crypto telephone - EDRI".
  8. ^ Niet Amerika, maar Nederland onderschepte 1,8 miljoen telefoontjes (about how the AIVD tapped 1,8 million foreign phone calls not related to the Netherlands at all), Elsevier
  9. ^ Dutch intelligence first to alert U.S. about Russian hack of Democratic Party

External links

2018 Dutch Intelligence and Security Services Act referendum

A consultative referendum on the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2017 was held in the Netherlands on 21 March 2018 alongside with the municipal elections. It was the second referendum to be held under the Dutch Consultative Referendum Act after the 2016 Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum.

A plurality of voters (49.44%) voted against the law, resulting in its rejection. Voter turnout was 51.5%, above the 30% threshold for validation of the result. Although the referendum itself was non-binding, Prime Minister Mark Rutte had promised to take the No vote into account prior to the referendum.

2018 in the Netherlands

This article lists major events that happened in 2018 in the Netherlands.

BVD (disambiguation)

BVD and similar can mean:

Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst (General Intelligence and Security Service), the secret service of the Netherlands

Bovine virus diarrhea, a disease of cattle

Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing, a major publisher of business information

BVD, a brand of men's underwear

Belgian General Information and Security Service

The General Intelligence and Security Service (GISS), known in Dutch as Algemene Dienst Inlichting en Veiligheid (ADIV), and in French as Service Général du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (SGRS) is the Belgian military intelligence service under responsibility of the Minister of Defence. It is one of two Belgian intelligence services, together with the civilian Belgian State Security Service (VSSE).

The military head of the GISS is also called the Assistant Chief of Staff Intelligence and Security (ACOS IS), which is part of the Defense Staff of the Belgian military. Air Force Lieutenant-General Claude Van de Voorde is the current chief, appointed in 2017.

Committee I

The Committee I, or the Standing Intelligence Agencies Review Committee (Dutch: Vast Comité van Toezicht op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten, French: Comité permanent de contrôle des services de renseignements et de sécurité), exercises external oversight over the Belgian State Security Service and the General Intelligence and Security Service and the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis. It reports to the Belgian Federal Parliament, which appoints and dismisses its members.

The Committee I was founded in 1991 and began its work in 1994. It consists of three members, including a Chairperson, who are appointed for a term of five years by the Belgian Chamber of Representatives. This term may be renewed only once. Its members are chosen from among magistrates, senior police officials or persons with significant administrative or scientific experience, however, the Chairperson must be a magistrate. The Chairperson of the Committee I is currently Serge Lipszyc.

Communist Unity Movement of the Netherlands (Marxist–Leninist)

Communist Unity Movement of the Netherlands (marxist-leninist) (Dutch: Kommunistiese Eenheidsbeweging Nederland (marxisties-leninisties); KEN(ml)) was a communist organization in the Netherlands.

The organization started as a pro-China leftist faction within the Communist Party of the Netherlands in 1964. At that time it called itself Marxist-Leninist Centre (Marxistisch-Leninistisch Centrum) and was based in Communist Party section 33 in Blijdorp, Rotterdam. Leading figures (in an organization of only a handful of members) were Nico Schrevel and Daan Monjé. MLC started publishing the magazine Spartacus. Before the 21st CPN party congress MLC published the appeal 'For the Unity of the Communist Movement'. At the end of 1964 the CPN leadership expelled Schrevel and Monjé.

At this time MLC was one of two pro-Chinese factions expelled from the CPN. The other was assembled around the periodical Rode Vlag. Plans for a merger were stalled, as the Rode Vlag-group maintained that it was still possible to convert CPN into a revolutionary party.

In March 1965 MLC changed its name to Marxist-Leninist Centre of the Netherlands (Marxistisch Leninistisch Centrum Nederland). The name of Spartacus was changed to Rode Tribune, possibly since the name Spartacus was seen to have Trotskyist connotations. By this time the group had attracted a few more members. One of the new recruits was Pieter Boevé, a General Intelligence and Security Service (BVD)-agent. Boevé became the international secretary of MLCN. However, his double play was discovered and he was expelled. Later the BVD set up its own Marxist-Leninist Party of the Netherlands with Boevé as its leader.

In 1966 MLCN launched a youth wing, the Young Communist League, that didn't last long.

In January 1970 the name of MLCN was changed to KEN(ml). By this time the organization had grown, and started attracting radical students. Membership estimates vary from 200 to 300. KEN(ml) formed a youth wing, Marxist-Leninist Youth, and a students wing, Marxist-Leninist Students League. Nico Schrevel was the national political secretary of KEN(ml).

Other KEN(ml) fronts were the League of Tenants and House-seekers (Bond van Huurders en Woningzoekenden, BHW) and Workers Power (Arbeidersmacht). KEN(ml) played a leading role during the 1970 Rotterdam port strike through Arbeidersmacht, even though the KEN(ml) membership only had very few workers.

In the summer of 1971, the Red Youth branches of Nijmegen and Rotterdam crossed over to KEN(ml).

During the fall of 1971 KEN(ml) was riddled by internal strife. An issue dividing the organization was the role of intellectuals in the class struggle. The majority led by Monjé supported the line that the working class had to be the supreme force in the revolutionary struggle. They raised the slogan "Where do the correct ideas come from? From practice or from the study chamber?". In October a majority of around 60% left to form the Communist Party of the Netherlands (marxist-leninist) (KPN(ml)) with Monjé as their leader. KPN(ml) took with them BHW and Arbeidersmacht, but lost their influence at the universities. KPN(ml) was mainly active in the southern provinces of the Netherlands. The minority, that continued as KEN(ml), had its original centre at the Economische Hogeschool in Tilburg. The 'new' KEN(ml) became primarily active in Rotterdam ports, the shipbuilding industry and dockers- and metalworkers unions. KEN(ml) organized its own National Vietnam Committee (Landelijk Vietnam Komitee), and founded the Communist Student League KSB.

Tilburg students moved to Rotterdam to reconstruct the organization. The dominance of the Tilburg students provoked a section of Rotterdam members to leave KEN(ml) in March 1972 and form the Marxist-Leninist Rotterdam Group. Similarly, a group of KEN(ml) members from the Brabant town of Breda, who refused to move to the Rotterdam area, broke away in August. They formed the Communist Circle of Breda (marxist-leninist). Some Rotterdam veterans of the organisation, among them Nico Schrevel, also left the movement. In the following years KEN(ml) and KPN(ml) remained the only marxist-leninist groups with national organisations.

In 1974 Tilburg-student Kees de Boer became the leader op KEN(ml). After 1976 under his leadership the KEN(ml) took an obscure turn. The cadres were directed to live in communes, were all aspects of daily life were under the control of the organization. Many members were expelled, accused of bourgeois deviations. In 1977 different groups of expellees regrouped in the Group of Marxist-Leninists/Red Dawn.

In 1977 KEN(ml) registered itself for the parliamentary elections. One of the issues raised by KEN(ml) in the electoral campaign was a discourse in support of unity of independent Western European countries against the imperialism of the two Superpowers. In the end KEN(ml) got 2722 votes.

On the same line of opposing the hegemony of two superpowers, KEN(ml) had organized a front organization called 'Movement for Freedom and Independence' (Beweging voor Vrijheid en Onafhankelijkheid), which saw NATO as a necessary instrument to defend Western Europe. This BVO lasted less than a year.

KEN(ml) disbanded around 1985.

Counter Terrorism Group

The Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) is an informal grouping of intelligence agencies from 30 European countries. CTG was founded in 2002 and includes agencies from all 28 European Union members, Norway and Switzerland. MI5 of the UK is expected to continue to remain a part of the CTG after Brexit.Under the chairmanship of the Dutch intelligence agency, the General Intelligence and Security Service (Dutch: AIVD), the group is creating a virtual platform to improve exchanging intelligence on terrorism between European agencies. According to the AIVD this process will be completed by July 1, 2016.

The Counter Terrorism Group was founded after the September 11 attacks. It comes from another European group called Club de Berne.According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, ‘The Military Balance 2004-2005,’ it was estimated that, across the world, there were around 18,000 terrorists trained by Al-Qaeda, but it was unknown how many were active in Europe.

Cozy Bear

Cozy Bear, classified as advanced persistent threat APT29, is a Russian hacker group believed to be associated with Russian intelligence. The Dutch AIVD deduced from security camera footage that it is led by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike also previously suggested that it may be associated with either the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) or SVR. The group was given other nicknames by other cybersecurity firms, including Office Monkeys, CozyCar, The Dukes (by Volexity), and CozyDuke (by F-Secure).

Espionage organizations

Espionage is a subset of human intelligence, one of many intelligence collection methods, which are organized by intelligence collection management.

This lists is restricted to organizations that operate clandestine human sources in foreign countries and non-national groups. It does not include police organizations with domestic informers, or, on an international basis, human sources that do counterintelligence work alone.

Islam in the Netherlands

Islam is the second largest religion in the Netherlands, practiced by 4% of the population according to 2010–11 estimates. The majority of Muslims in the Netherlands belong to the Sunni denomination. Most reside in the nation's four major cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

The early history of Islam in the Netherlands can be traced to the 16th century, when a small number of Ottoman traders began settling in the nation's port cities. As a result, improvised Mosques were first created in Amsterdam in the early 17th century. In the ensuing centuries, the Netherlands experienced sporadic Muslim immigration from the Dutch East Indies, during their long history as part of the Dutch overseas possessions. From the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War until the independence of Indonesia, the Dutch East Indies contained the world's largest Muslim population. However, the number of Muslims in the European territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was very low, accounting for less than 0.1% of the population.

The Netherlands' economic resurgence in the years between 1960 and 1973 motivated the Dutch government to recruit migrant labor, chiefly from Turkey and Morocco. Later waves of immigrants arrived through family reunification and asylum seeking. A notable portion of Muslim immigrants also arrived from now-independent colonies, primarily Indonesia and Suriname.

List of counterintelligence organizations

Counterintelligence organizations and agencies attempt to prevent foreign intelligence organizations from successfully gathering and collecting intelligence against the governments they serve.

List of intelligence agencies

This is a list of intelligence agencies. It includes only currently operational institutions.

Mahmoud Safwat

Mahmoud Safwat Ali (Arabic: محمود صفوت على‎, 16 November 1929 – 12 May 2015) was an intelligence officer in the Egyptian General Intelligence and Security Service and a former gymnastics player in the Egyptian Gymnastics team competing in the Olympic Games in Finland Helsinki 1952. He was rated the 125th on players in overall ranking in the Helsinki summer games.

Ministries of the Netherlands

The most influential part of the executive of the Government of the Netherlands are the ministries. There are twelve ministries of the Netherlands, all with their own minister. There are also several ministers without portfolio and about as many State Secretaries.

Ministry of Defence (Belgium)

The Ministry of Defence (Dutch: Ministerie van Landsverdediging, French: Ministère de la Défense, German: Ministerium der Verteidigung), formerly called the Ministry of War and Ministry of National Defence, is the Belgian ministry responsible for national defence and the Belgian military. The Ministry of Defence is responsible to the Minister of Defence.

As a result of the Verhofstadt I Government's plans to modernise the federal administration, all other ministries were transformed into Federal Public Services (FPS), but in August 2007 there still was no Royal Order creating the FPS Defence, although that name is already in use on official websites. The Ministry of Defence is responsible to the Minister of Defence.

The Chief of Defence (CHOD) is the highest uniformed official in the Ministry of Defence. The CHOD is assisted in the exercise of his functions by a Vice-Chief of Defence (VCHOD) and a Secretary-General.

The Ministry of Defence is organised into multiple staff departments and directorates-general. The Armed Forces are subordinate to the Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS) Operations and Training, who heads the Staff Department for Operations and Training. He is assisted by two Deputy Assistant Chiefs of Staff (DACOS), one for Operations and Planning and one for Training and Support.

Another staff department is the Staff Department for Intelligence and Security, which is led by the ACOS Intelligence and Security. This staff department is also known as the General Intelligence and Security Service and is responsible for military intelligence and security.

Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid

The Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid (NCTV) is the main Dutch counter-terrorism unit. It was established in January 2005 as the Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding (NCTb); the unit was enlarged and renamed in October 2012.The NCTV is under the responsibility of the Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus since 2017. In charge of the safety of civil aviation and cybersecurity, it also analyses terrorism threats to determine the threat level (minimal, limited, substantial or critical) in the Netherlands. It therefore works closely with the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD).

Paul van Tienen

Paul van Tienen (10 January 1921 – 1995 probably in La Manga del Mar Menor, Murcia, Spain) was a Dutch Nazi during World War II and a far-right politician after the war, convicted at least twice for his political activities.

Rob Bertholee

Robert Antonius Cornelis "Rob" Bertholee is a retired lieutenant general of the Royal Netherlands Army who served the head of the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) from 2011 to 2018. He previously was Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army from 2008 to 2011. Born in Haarlem, Bertholee is married and has one daughter.

Samir Azzouz

Samir Azzouz (born 27 June 1986) is a Dutch national of Moroccan descent. He was incarcerated in Nieuw Vosseveld on suspicion of attempting to procure heavy firearms and planning terrorist attacks. He was also suspected to be closely related to the terrorist group the Hofstad Network, but has never been prosecuted for membership of the group.

Azzouz was born in Amsterdam and grew up in Amsterdam Nieuw-West, a relatively poor immigrant neighbourhood. He was a successful student in high school and started on VWO (the highest level in the Dutch secondary school system, granting access to university), but he left school before graduating. It was during his time in high school that he began following a radical form of Islam.

In January 2003 Azzouz was arrested in Ukraine. He and a friend were allegedly on their way to Chechnya to fight for the jihad against Russia. However, the 17-year-olds lacked proper passports and clothing and had to return to the Netherlands.

In October 2003 Azzouz and four others were arrested in the Netherlands. They were suspected of constituting a terrorist cell, but were released for lack of evidence.

On 30 June 2004 Azzouz was arrested again for the armed robbery of a supermarket. During a search of Azzouz's house, police found what they believed to be evidence that Azzouz had been involved in planning several attacks on Dutch targets, such as Schiphol Airport and the nuclear power plant in Borssele. Police found maps of these targets, some chemicals used in explosives, such as fertilizer, and ammunition.

However, at trial the judge concluded there was insufficient evidence to convict Azzouz on the charge of planning terrorist attacks. He possessed a homemade bomb, but this proved faulty since he had used the wrong type of fertilizer. He was convicted on the charge of illegal possession of firearms and sentenced to three months in jail. After this sentence he was acquitted of the original terrorism charge.

On 14 October 2005 Azzouz was arrested again on suspicion of attempting to procure heavy firearms and planning terrorist attacks against national politicians and the headquarters of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) in Leidschendam.

On 14 September 2006 the Dutch television program Nova broadcast parts of a video-testament of Samir Azzouz.

On 1 December 2006 he was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment, along with three other militant Islamists. He was held in Nieuw Vosseveld. On 2 October 2008, The Hague Court of Appeal sentenced Azzouz to nine years' imprisonment for participation in a criminal organization and punishable preparation of a terrorist crime.On 6 September 2013 Azzouz was released from jail on license, though he was not allowed to associate with certain people, go to certain towns or leave the country.


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