The absence of a cooperation agreement between National Security and the Police does not mean that the two services do not collaborate or that their collaboration is not regulated, the cabinet of Justice Minister Koen Geens stated on Friday in reaction to press reports. Le Tijd newspaper published on Friday the latest report of the R Committee, which monitors the intelligence services, that underscored the prolonged absence of a cooperation agreement between Police and National Security, seen as a particularly significant shortcoming in a period marked by terrorism.
In the note issued by his cabinet, the Justice Minister responded that the collaboration between the two services was regulated by various legal norms. He also referred to the Radicalism Plan of the National Security Council, to a circular drawn up with the Minister of Home Affairs, Jan Jambon, on exchanging information and monitoring Belgian nationals fighting abroad, to the creation of a joint database on foreign combatants and to his own Radicalism Plan for prisons. “All these documents define the way in which the Police and National Security collaborate and the areas in which they collaborate,” the note from the cabinet stated.
It also recalled that Minister Geens had sought in recent years to implement many recommendations emanating from the R Committee, citing as an example the fact that, from this year, a directive of the National Security Council regulates collaboration between Belgian and foreign intelligence services.
Citing other examples, the cabinet noted that a bill on special investigation methods that reintroduces the obligation to notify persons when they are under surveillance and improvements to rules governing observation and searches.
It also mentioned the introduction of an extreme-emergency procedure authorizing the commission, within the framework of investigations, of acts normally punishable by law and allowing military intelligence services to use investigation methods abroad.