Dutch arrest counterterrorism official for alleged leak to Morocco

Dutch arrest counterterrorism official for alleged leak to Morocco | INFBusiness.com

Dutch authorities arrested a counter-terrorism official and a policewoman last week for allegedly leaking state secrets, the Dutch Public Prosecutor announced on Wednesday, with various media reporting that Morocco had benefited from the leaks.

According to various Dutch media, the suspected official of the National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism and Security (NCTV) is Abderrahim El M., a 64-year-old man from Rotterdam who worked as an Arabic translator and senior analyst for the unit. He is believed to have leaked sensitive information from police units focusing on counter-terrorism, extremism and radicalisation.

El M. had long been suspected of leaking information to the Moroccan government, with Dutch police receiving several warnings but it is not know if action was taken.

Both El M. and the policewoman, who previously worked at the NCTV and whose involvement in the leaks was not further clarified, were brought before a supervisory judge on Tuesday, who decided that they would remain in custody for at least two more weeks.

NCTV is headed by outgoing Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius (VVD/Renew).

“Let me start by saying that I find this a very disturbing message. Naturally, I believe that this should be properly and independently investigated,” the minister wrote about the arrests in a letter to parliament.

“It is very important that the criminal investigation by the National Criminal Investigation Department, led by the National Public Prosecutor’s Office, can take place unhindered,” she added.

Dutch lawmakers were shocked by the revelations and demanded further investigations into the matter.

“Disturbing report on leaking of state secret information by NCTV and police employees! […] Minister Yesilgoz-Zegerius should clarify as much as possible (including whether people are in immediate danger), as soon as the importance of the investigation allows,” liberal MP Joost Sneller (D66/Renew) posted on X.

“But saying less is not allowed,” far-right MP Geert Wilders (PVV/ID) stated, referring to his 2014 election campaign remark that he would make sure that there would be “less Moroccans” in the Netherlands, which caused significant outrage at the time.

Morocco was previously embroiled in last year’s Qatargate scandal, bribing several MEPs to lobby in favour of the North African country’s interests in the EU Parliament.

(Benedikt Stöckl | Euractiv.com)

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