Dutch to Push Intel Sharing After Missed Signals in Paris Attacks

Netherlands is pushing for greater sharing of intelligence data after the November 13 Paris attacks.

2 min read
Residents and children pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the November 13 Paris attacks. (Photo: Karan Sarnaik)

The Netherlands called, on Monday, for greater sharing of intelligence data, including lists of suspected foreign fighters and their banking details, at a gathering of global counter-terrorism officials.

The Dutch, who hold the rotating European Union presidency, circulated a draft outlining the objective to roughly 250 delegates of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL meeting in The Hague, Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said.

Although a legal framework for sharing confidential intelligence already exists, the Dutch hope to boost the use of databases at the European and international police agencies Interpol and Europol, in the wake of weak communication before the Nov 13 Paris attacks.

Children light candles as people mourn the deaths of innocent civilians in the November 13 terror attacks in Paris. (Photo: Karan Sarnaik)
Children light candles as people mourn the deaths of innocent civilians in the November 13 terror attacks in Paris. (Photo: Karan Sarnaik)

Several of the Paris attackers, who killed 130 people with guns and suicide vests, had been on the radar of authorities in various countries, providing opportunities to stop them.

Turkish authorities detained suicide bomber Brahim Abdeslam and deported him to Belgium months before the attacks, warning that he had been “radicalised” and was suspected of wanting to join Islamic State fighters in Syria.

We have the agreements, but it is very important now that... there is a real-time exchange of information. There has to be the confidence and the trust between the agencies to ensure that it is not only the general knowledge but precise names, the precise travel plans, the precise credit cards.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders

One example is the failure to effectively share lists of suspects whose assets have been frozen, making it possible for someone blacklisted to drive across the border and use their bank cards in a neighbouring country.

Another problem is that not all countries provide data or use information made available through systems at Europol and Interpol.

Beyond monitoring social media and telecommunications intercepts, agencies should be deepening methods to include swapping of communications between militant suspects, who also chat via popular game consoles such as PlayStation, Koenders said.

Among participants are the leading counter-terrorism officials from the European Union, Europol, Interpol, the United Nations and top government representatives from the United States, Turkey and Morocco, among others.

Koenders said on Sunday the “national terrorism” list in the Netherlands had doubled in a year to 42 Dutch citizens and organisations linked to militants in Syria and Iraq.

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