“We live in a country where the truth matters. That’s why I see no other option than to resign. The office of the Foreign Minister must be above all doubt, both at home and abroad.”
Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra
“Liar Liar Pants On Fire” is a phrase that children like to scream at each other whenever they think the other is lying. They also like to scream it at adults who tell them stories about fairies. It is an overall stupid thing to say, since if your pants actually caught on fire when you lied, more politicians would be dead.
February 19 2018 — Halbe Zijlstra — the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands — has admitted that he lied about hearing Vladimir Putin talking up ambitions to reform the Soviet Union. Zijlstra stepped down on February 13 2018 after MPs had summoned him to explain himself. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
RELATED POST: European Intelligence Agencies : The Netherlands
The false claims were made about the Russian president back in 2016. Prime Minister Mark Rutte — who was aware of the facts for several weeks — survived a vote of no confidence.
During his campaign for the March 2017 election, Mr Zijlstra claimed he had personally heard Mr Putin speak of creating a “Greater Russia” in 2006.
The Moscow’s embassy in The Hague released a rather simple and direct statement:
“Russia is being blamed for disseminating disinformation.
Dutch officials are constantly making such unfounded statements…
Isn’t this an example of fake news directed against our country?”
Speaking about his resignation, Mr Zijlstra said that with hindsight, he had made the biggest mistake of his political career.
“But while acknowledging that his actions were stupid, Mr Zijlstra has continued to say that Mr Putin did actually speak those words and that by lying he was purely trying to protect a source who had been present at the gathering.
The Russian embassy in The Netherlands has previously complained about Mr Zijlstra’s statement and accused Dutch officials of constantly making unfounded claims about Russia.
He had only been foreign minister for four months.” [BBC]
Retaliation for Dutch Intel Leak?
Earlier this year, the Volkskrant revealed that a Dutch Intelligence Unit directly witnessed the Russian involvement in the 2016 hacking of the American Democratic Party.
On February 8 2018, Max Smeets — a postdoctoral fellow in cybersecurity at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University — penned an analysis published by the Washington Post.
Smeets suggests that the Dutch Government had a good reason to leak the information at this very moment. He also concluded that the Russia would probably retaliate:
“Finally, (cyber) power comes with a price. Russian hackers — and other actors — may now see the Dutch intelligence services as a more interesting target.
Russia may retaliate accordingly — and publicly — against the Dutch to signal mutual vulnerability.
At least the Dutch government seems to have taken precautions, choosing to tabulate election results by hand earlier this year.”
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