Abels and Van Buuren on the mistakes made by the AIVD in the Haga Lyceum affair
In response to an news article that appeared in Dutch newspaper the 'NRC" on 17 June 2019, the Review Committee on the Intelligence and Security Services (CTIVD) performed an investigation into the official notice of the Dutch intelligence service AIVD. In the NRC article, Professor by special appointment Paul Abels described the events surrounding the Haga Lyceum as a successful disruption by the AIVD. Jelle van Buuren, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, evaluates the CTIVD's actions.
In the NRC article of 6 December 2019 (in Dutch) the AIVD is reported to have made several errors when issuing the warnings about the situation at the Cornelius Haga Lyceum in Amsterdam. Warning other government institutions was justified but several sentences in the report were insufficiently substantiated and were unlawful as a result. This is the conclusion of the CTIVD in their review report that was published on 29 November. The watchdog concluded that the AIVD's decision to distribute the information was justified, necessary and proportional. However, they did criticise certain segments of the provided information that resulted into the school being framed the school in a certain light.
This is the first time the AIVD has been rebuked by the watchdog according to Van Buuren. The official notices of the AIVD are usually subject to stringent checks performed by a large number of legal advisers before the AIVD publishes them. Van Buuren indicates that is unclear what went wrong this time. 'In her report, the CTIVD describes that the counter terrorism unit had objected to naming the connections with the Emirate. The salafism department obviously interpreted the information about those contacts differently. But the CTIVD was unable to ascertain why the internal criticism went unheard: there were never any transcripts made.' Van Buuren also mentions that the report contains a double message: 'The watchdog states that the core of the AIVD message is solid but that sub-parts are slipshod and unlawful. But not to the degree that the official notice should have been recalled.'