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.
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.
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.
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.
Influence and results
It is often said that the Netherlands has the largest absolute number of wiretaps and internet taps in the world, 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.