Dutch journalist wins phone bugging ruling

A Dutch court has ruled the tapping of a journalist’s phone by the country’s secret service (AIVD) to uncover the source of a government leak was illegal.

Jolande van der Graaf, a journalist for De Telegraaf newspaper, reported in March that AIVD had passed on misleading information to the Dutch cabinet in the build-up to the Iraq War in 2003, which the Dutch government supported.

In an almost complete reversal of the current News of the World phone hacking allegations, both van der Graafe and her editor-in-chief had their phones tapped by AIVD as part of a covert surveillance operation.

A court in Amsterdam ruled last week the act was unlawful and information gathered in the phone taps could be used as evidence.

Lawyers for De Telegraaf had argued that AIVD could only act as they did if there was an imminent threat to national security and as the documents were now over five years old this was not the case.

According to reports in the Dutch media, AIVD is expected to appeal against the Amsterdam court ruling.

In an earlier case, another Dutch court ruled the security services were right to raid van de Graaf’s home because as a journalist she had no right to be in possession of classified documents.

der Graafe had refused to hand over secret documents in her possession to the security services, prompting the raid and the seizure of a number of items.

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