Experts Warn of Paralysing AIVD
THE HAGUE, 12/09/13 - The cutbacks announced at the AIVD could result in the paralysis of the intelligence organisation, experts warned on Wednesday during hearings in the Lower House.
The cabinet is making cutbacks of around 70 million euros at the service in the coming years. Two hundred of the 1,500 jobs will be cut in the coming years, rising further up to 2018.
The experts say that the savings operation will ensure that nearly half of the core tasks are curtained to such an extent that they will in fact become useless. Rob de Wijk, director of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, drew a parallel here with defence. There, too, cutbacks ensured t hat some services became useless. "You can cut 10 percent of your own flesh, but after that you are cutting bone, amputating," said De Wijk.
The experts were unanimous in their assessment that it must remain possible to exchange intelligence with allies. The Netherlands will get into a difficult situation if it can no longer supply information itself.
Foreign expert Ko Colijn, director of Clingendael, said he actually finds it "frivolous" of the Netherlands to assume that it can still gather intelligence abroad after the cutbacks. "You cannot hold your hand out to the allies. You do also have to supply information yourself."
Colijn also warned against scrapping the "foreign arm" of the AIVD. "The predictability of the world has declined and many groups in the world constitute the service. There is therefore a need for more intelligence rather than less.
De Wijk, along with the other experts, pointed out that the tasks of the AIVD cannot be taken over by others. "Politicians are completely responsible," according to De Wijk. "The electorate will at a certain moment pose the question: How have things gone so far?"
Ben Bot, chairman of the management board of Clingendael institute, said politicians must ask themselves what exactly they want with the AIVD. Ronald Prins of FOX IT, which specialises in cyber-protection, pointed out that the budget of the AIVD is a fraction of the total government budget.