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On 21 November 2013, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad published an article claiming that, in the period from 2005 to 2010, the General Intelligence and Security Service (Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst, AIVD) had spied on politicians from the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands, who were negotiating with the Dutch government regarding accession to the Netherlands. The article alleged that these surveillance activities constituted an illegal operation that was concealed from the government of the Netherlands Antilles of that time.
During the period in question, the complainant was a political leader on Bonaire.
The complainant alleged that, in the period from 2005 to 2010, the AIVD spied on politicians on Bonaire (including the complainant) who were negotiating with the Dutch government regarding Bonaire’s accession to the Netherlands. According to the complainant, these surveillance activities were unlawful.
The government is to act correctly and use its powers only for their intended purposes. That implies that the public may expect the government to perform its duties in a conscientious and lawful manner. The government and those employed by the government may be expected not to abuse their positions, their powers, their time and the resources at their disposal.
On the basis of the information provided to and verified by the National Ombudsman, the National Ombudsman has concluded that, for a fairly short part of the period under consideration (2005 to 2010), the AIVD undertook surveillance of the complainant when it was not entitled to do so. The part of the AIVD’s operations that took place during that period was unlawful. To that extent, the investigated activities were inappropriate.
On the basis of the information provided to and verified by the National Ombudsman, the National Ombudsman has ascertained that, in the remainder of the period under consideration, either the complainant was not under surveillance or the surveillance that took place was lawful. In that respect, the investigated activities were appropriate.