April 26, 2005

Who is the most inept spy in Europe?

According to this article in the Daily Telegraph, it's Les Belges! The Belgian spies are no longer to be trusted with guns. That's right, no one is allowed to have a gun any longer:

The battered reputation of Belgium's security forces took a new hit yesterday with the revelation that its internal spy service has disarmed almost all its field agents after one drunkenly tried to shoot a colleague in the head. The civilian agents of the Sûreté de l'Etat, the equivalent of Britain's MI5, are already among the most powerless intelligence operatives in the Western world, with no right even to tap telephones.

Now, they have had their handguns confiscated on the orders of their general administrator, Koen Dassen, a Belgian newspaper reported. A working group has been established to work out who is armed and why, after Mr Dassen realised that controls were "worse than approximate".

Saar Vanderplaetsen, the chief spokesman for Laurette Onkelinx, the justice minister, confirmed that Sûreté agents had had to hand in their weapons, pending new rules and regulations.

She was unable to confirm reports that officers had gone on a virtual work-to-rule since being disarmed, including avoidance of risky missions. The exact numbers and missions of Sûreté agents are kept confidential.

Miss Vanderplaetsen said: "For the moment, everybody has had to hand in their guns because we had this incident, in October or November last year, during which an agent shot at another."

Mrs Onkelinx was reportedly distressed that she only learnt of the incident, in which no one was hurt, from the press four months after it took place in Brussels.

The agent suspected of firing his gun in the general direction of his colleague's head was said by the media to be an alcoholic with a dependency on anti-depressants.

Belgium's internal security arrangements have proved a source of frustration for their Western counterparts.

Lax passport security helped Tunisian militants based in Brussels to supply fake Belgian passports to the men who killed Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Afghan commander and enemy of the Taliban, in 2001.

Posted by Random Penseur at April 26, 2005 10:06 AM

So have they officially moved from "joke" to "laughing stock"?

Posted by: Jim at April 26, 2005 02:02 PM

So, if one of their soldiers went off half-cocked and drunk, they'd disarm the military?

Um... Does Belgium have a military?

Posted by: Tuning Spork at April 26, 2005 09:20 PM
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