The History of AIVD

The history of the AIVD, formerly called BVD, started in 1949. The Interior Minister was responsible for the actions of BVD.

The main objectives of BVD were collecting intelligence, promoting measure for security, performing investigations related to security and monitoring activities of different communities in the country along with espionage activities of Eastern European countries.

On 3rd October, 1963 a new department known as SBP “Staff Bureau Foreign Political Developments” was founded. The aim of this department was to analyze political developments taking place in foreign countries. It also monitored developments of the communist movement for infiltration by BVD agents.

In the 70s, countering international terrorism was added to BVD agenda. The agency was not involved in tracking of money transfers during the Yugoslav conflict. BVD activities were limited to the matters which posed a threat to the Dutch national security, society and democracy. The need for a department that would track flows of money was strongly felt. Hence the unit for investigation of financial and economic issues was established in late 90s.

On November 1, 1990 SBP was abolished, but analysis of the foreign political developments was continued. At that time A. Docters van Leeuwen was the head of BVD. The purpose of abolishing SBP was to reorganize the agency and get rid of cold war legacy. SBP staff was relocated to other directorates, where they could be used for projects related to analysis. Small teams working on few projects ware preferred over vertical departments, which were totally abandoned.

Team Adriaan was also created by the BVD during Balkan crisis, with 15 to 20 operatives working in the team. The main objective of this team was to track activities of Croats, Bosnian Serbs, and Bosnian Muslims and gather intelligence and give security advices to the Yugoslav Displaced Persons. The Adriaan team also employed many translators and they tapped telephone calls. In 1992 the First Secretary for Consular Affairs, working at the embassy of Yugoslavia was asked to leave the country. According to BVD he was working as an agent for his country.

BVD’s annual reports in 1993 and 1994 showed that the agency gave ample attention to the Balkans. In 2000, the total number of personnel working for BVD was 594. Of those 397 were men and the remaining 197 were women.

In 2002 BVD was renamed as AIVD (General Intelligence and Security Service or Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst). The Intelligence and Security Services Act was also revised which gave BVD the authority to gather intelligence from foreign countries.

CIA and AIVD have enjoyed close ties with each other in recent years. AIVD is considered to be the most efficient intelligence organization of Europe. Some of the previous employees of AIVD are now working for NRO and CIA.

After the murder of Theo Van Gogh in November 2004 and the Madrid terrorist attacks in March 2004, the threat from the Islamic activist groups and young Muslim radicals living in Netherlands was realized. After the Van Gough incidence many extremists were arrested. Since than, countering terrorist attacks from radical Muslim groups have been on AIVD top priority list.

AIVD prepared a report whose title was ‘Dawa to Jihad’, which was later published by the Dutch ministry on December 23, 2004. The report analyzed the threat posed to the Dutch society, by the Islamic fundamentalist organizations and groups. This report also described the measure that ought to be adopted to minimize these threats. AIVD also prepared a report earlier that examined Saudi manipulation and funding in Islamic organizations in Netherlands.

Historically, Intelligence agencies like CIA and MI-5 were of little help in providing intelligence to the BVD. These agencies gave priority to their own projects and intelligence. After numerous complaints the situation improved and BVD started getting useful data from larger agencies around the world.

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