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The Hague scientists on the foiled Russian hacker attack

The Military Information and Security Service (MIVD) prevented a Russian hacker attack on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. Scientists Paul Abels, Willemijn Aerts, Constant Hijzen and Sergei Boeke of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs responded to this news in various media.

NOS: 'Unprecedented openness'

Abels: 'With this operation The Netherlands are entering the big political world tournament against the Russians. This was not just a press conference, this was the Minister of Defence and the head of the MIVD. With an unprecedented openness and number of details. This is really a feast for an intelligence expert.'

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EenVandaag: 'Lukewarm war'

Abels: 'You have to see this in the light of how the Russians and the West are opposed nowadays. People say that the Cold War is back. I don’t think so, that period is behind us. But you might speak of a ‘lukewarm war’.'

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NPO Radio1: 'Amateurish way'

Abels: 'The passports of the spies had succeeding serial numbers, and they also left their things behind in an amateurish way.'

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De Volkskrant 'The four Russian hackers have never been arrested. Why?'

Abels: 'Arresting would have been possible, but information- and security services are not allowed to arrest criminals. Thus they would have had to bring in the Public Prosecution, and they would have to have brought in the police.'

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NOS 'We had them and let them go: why were the spies not detained?'

Abels: 'When in the old days a spying affair came out, those people were being sent off neatly and quietly.'

Hijzen: 'But espionage is a criminal offence. It is necessary to catch a person in the act, which happened in this case.'

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NRC ‘We made fools of the Russians in public’

Boeke: 'To maintain its credibility, the West had to react on the impertinent Russian espionage.'

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The Economist: 'Britain wages information war against Russia'

Boeke: 'Russia has broken an unwritten rule of the spying game by using intelligence for offensive purposes, something normally reserved for war.'

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NOS: 'Hoe slim (of dom) waren de Russische OPCW-hackers?'

Aerdts: 'I do not have a technical background, but to bring stuff you have used before to an espionage operation sounds like a beginner’s mistake.'

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