Dutch counterterrorism, police staff held on suspicion of leaking secrets

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A man working for the Dutch government’s counterterrorism task-force and a former colleague who joined the police have been arrested on suspicion of leaking state secrets, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The 64-year-old man from the NCTV – the office of the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism – was detained on Thursday last week, the National Prosecutors Office said in a statement.

A 35-year-old woman, who also worked at the NCTV but recently left to join the national police force, was arrested the same day, the statement added.

It did not go into detail on the secrets or who prosecutors thought might have received them. The two suspects had not been formally charged or entered a plea, a prosecution spokesperson said.

Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgoz said she would order an investigation into the alleged leaks that would run alongside the criminal enquiries.

“The NCTV and police have taken additional security measures in relation to this matter,” she said in a letter to parliament.

“In light of the criminal investigation no additional information can be given at the moment,” she added.

Yesilgoz has taken over leadership of outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD party and is campaigning to replace him after a national election on Nov. 22.

The man from Rotterdam and the woman from Gouda were not named and there were no immediate statements from any lawyer representing them.

A judge ordered them on Oct. 31 to remain in custody for 14 days, National Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Brechtje van de Moosdijk said.

The NCTV was set up to prevent militant attacks and to protect against cyber-security threats and interference by foreign actors.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by Robert Birsel and Andrew Heavens)