A BIG JOB AHEAD FOR NEW DUTCH COUNTERTERRORIST COORDINATOR

Identifier: 
04THEHAGUE1201

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001201

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2014
TAGS: PTER, PGOV, PINR, NL
SUBJECT: A BIG JOB AHEAD FOR NEW DUTCH COUNTERTERRORIST
COORDINATOR

REF: THE HAGUE 1167

Classified By: ANDREW MANN, HEAD OF GLOBAL ISSUES.
REASONS: 1.5 (b & d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: A highly respected bureaucrat, Tjibbe
Joustra, recently assigned to the new Dutch position of
counterterrorism (CT) coordinator, is remarkably candid about
the flaws he sees in the Dutch CT efforts (e.g., lack of
inter-agency coordination; lack of action). He has a broad
mandate to review existing procedures/operations and make
recommendations for improvements. Although focused on
internal coordination and reform, he is open to working with
the U.S. and welcomes our offers of assistance. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) DCM and Global Issues officer met May 11 with Mr.
Joustra, newly named CT coordinator for the Netherlands
(April 27 - reftel). Admitting he was new to CT and law
enforcement issues, Joustra pointed out his 14 years of
experience in crisis management as Secretary General of the
Agriculture Ministry, handling mad cow scares, avian flu
epidemics and fallout from the Chernobyl explosion. He also
stressed his management experience in a subsequent assignment
consolidating the government's six social security programs
into one (30 billion Euros). He said security concerns were
not an abstraction for him, but something he had been
personally involved with for many years in his working life.
It was important to protect society's infrastructure and that
was why he was anxious to take up these new responsibilities.

3. (C) Joustra said he immediately noticed systematic
problems from the fact CT policy and implementation in the
Netherlands were shared by the Ministers of Justice (Donner)
and Interior (Remkes). As a bureaucrat, he recognizes this
is a very difficult situation which hampers results. There
is little coordination between the Ministers, their
Secretaries General and Directors General. He said he

SIPDIS
reports first to Minister Donner, who was actively engaged,
and then consults with Remkes, who appears much less
interested. Joustra chairs the Joint Committee on
Counterterrorism, a moribund inter-agency coordinating group,
which he expects to meet monthly in the future. He also
staffs the Council of Ministers, chaired by the Prime
Minister, in discussions on CT issues.

4. (SBU) Joustra said his mandate is to:

- try to coordinate the CT activities of service and policy
agencies and Ministries in a better way;

- evaluate the whole Dutch CT system - policy and
decision-making and implementation - and draft a new system
which is more efficient and transparent;

- increase public awareness of the threat and risk of
terrorism (he said the government had "hardly any plans on
how the public should react to a CT crisis");

- look at existing and planned CT legislation, determine
whose lead is supposed to be followed (national vs.
provincial vs. municipal), and what additional measures are
needed;

- coordinate with international CT efforts (he downplayed the
importance of this aspect of his job)

He has deliberately kept his staff small (2 assistants and a
secretary), preferring not to build a rival bureaucracy but

SIPDIS
to rely instead upon the government officials who are
currently tasked with CT responsibilities. His tenure runs
through the end of the year.

5. (C) Two recent incidents brought home to Joustra the need
for his work. Donner, Remkes, their Secretaries General and
senior CT officials and Joustra met jointly with AIVD, the
intelligence service, for the first time last week. Joustra
noted immediately the jurisdictional problems in getting
information checked and shared between AIVD and the
Ministries and among the Ministries themselves. When AIVD
said the security situation in the Netherlands had
deteriorated somewhat recently, Joustra asked "what do we do"
and no one knew what measures the government should to take.
Joustra also said he asked his staff to compile a list of all
of the CT schemes the government had announced and what had
been done to implement them. The list of schemes ran more
than 40 pages, while only three pages of them were marked
with action taken. Joustra said the system has to become
simpler and more effective.

6. (C) The DCM thanked Joustra for taking the time to meet
with him so soon after his appointment. Joustra noted the
DCM was the first foreign visitor he had received. The DCM
offered Joustra whatever assistance the U.S. could provide,
from information sharing to exchange of best practices to
bringing in experts to setting up meetings, to facilitate his
job. Joustra said he would like to continue reviewing the
situation first, but promised to meet again within 3-4 weeks
to renew the discussion. The DCM noted U.S. frustration with
the compartmentalization of CT efforts within the Dutch
government with the lack of information sharing between
offices. He also said the Dutch failed to see the link
between criminal activity and terrorism - illicit money
transfers, fraudulent documents, etc., and suggested the
Dutch needed to look more broadly at the issue/threat of
terrorism. DCM also described U.S. concerns about
cross-border mobility facilitators/"breeding grounds" in the
Netherlands.

7. (C) Joustra acknowledged DCM's description of Dutch
stovepiping. He also expressed interest in the American
color-coded warning system, asking about its strengths and
weaknesses. He recognized the need to made a real conversion
from a "threat-specific" response system to risk management.

8. (C) COMMENT: Joustra clearly has a big job ahead of him.
Unlike many Dutch officials, he did not hide behind the need
for "consensus," in the hour plus meeting. He noted the need
to bring the appropriate people together to solve a problem
and zeroed in on the need to ACT on CT information. Justice
Minister Donner may have found the right person, a skilled
bureaucrat experienced in crisis management and
organizations, to take a fresh look at Dutch CT efforts and
suggest reform. We are also encouraged by his openness to
the U.S. He claimed he did not want to author just another
blue ribbon panel report. Nonetheless, engineering real,
effective change in the Dutch CT policies and system is a
formidable task. END COMMENT.

9. (SBU) Biographic Information:

Tjibbe Herman Jan Joustra

DPOB: February 6, 1951 in Hengelo, Gelderland Province, the
Netherlands

Married

Fluent in English

Studied law at Groningen University (his thesis was on
American antitrust law), graduating in 1975

1975-2001 Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries

- Director of Legal and Managerial Affairs/Deputy Secretary
General (1983-1987)
- Secretary General (1987-2001) (the senior most bureaucrat
in a Ministry - his SG colleagues speak very highly of
him)(USDA notes that he did not come up through the Ministry
on the policy, trade or international affairs side of the
house)

2002-2004 Organization for the Implementation of Workers'
Insurance (UWV) (responsible for merging the government's six
social security/pension schemes into one, with more than 30
billion Euros in assets; he resigned in a dispute with the
Social Affairs Minister who criticized the costs of Joustra's
office renovations)

l2004 Chair of the Joint Committee on
Counterterrorism/National CT Coordinator
SOBEL