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US monitored mails, phone calls in Netherlands: Minister

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Dutch Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk has revealed that he received a letter from the National Security Agency (NSA) of the US confirming the monitoring of mail and phone traffic in the Netherlands.

After negative reactions from Spain, Germany and France, the Netherlands had so far kept apathetic on reports of spying activities of the NSA in Europe.

However, Plasterk Wednesday night confirmed that the reports of 1.8 million intercepted phone calls and mails by the NSA in December last year are probably true, Xinhua reported.

"I got a confirmation two hours ago in which NSA states that the reports of millions of monitored calls and mails are true," Plasterk said in TV programme, Nieuwsuur. "However, they say it only concerns metadata, like who called who."

Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported earlier this week that the Dutch Intelligence Agency (AIVD) had supplied information to the NSA. Plasterk reacted by saying they cooperate with the NSA, but the 1.8 million intercepted telephone calls have not been delivered by the AIVD.

"It is not acceptable that an ally fails to abide (by) Dutch law," Plasterk added.

"Together we fight terrorism, so it cannot be the case that at the same time they monitor our calls. If they want us to monitor calls, they can request that, like they do as well."

Plasterk also asked the NSA if important Dutch political figures, like Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany, were also tapped.

"The Netherlands is not a target was their reaction," said Plasterk.

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