Report slams the role of the Military Intelligence Service in the Jürgen Conings case

A report by Committee I that is responsible for reviewing the activities and functioning of the security services in Belgium says that the Military Intelligence Service ADIV Committee I made “serious errors” with regard to the Jürgen Conings case. 

The report goes on to say that the Conings case is just one example of wide issues that exist within our security services especially ADIV. Committee I has spent the past few weeks looking into to what went wrong in the Jürgen Conings case. A soldier with more than 25 years’ service, a large chunk of which on foreign missions, Jürgen Conings was known to have far-right sympathies and was on ADIV’s list of potentially dangerous radicalised individuals. 

Despite this he was left in charge of a weapons depot at the Leopoldburg Barracks in Limburg Province. On 17 May he went AWOL with a cash of weapons including rocket launchers. Despite a large-scale search involving police officers and military personnel it wasn’t until almost 5 weeks later that Jürgen Conings’ body was found in woodland by a man that had gone to the woods to hunt.

Committee I say that the Jürgen Conings case is just one example of the serious deficiencies that have existed within the country’s security service during the past 10 years.

Not only ADIV, but also the Defence Department in general come in for strong criticism. The report concludes that:

·        There are structural staff shortages. 

·        There is a large turnover of staff, meaning that knowledge and experience have been lost.

·        Insufficient tabs were kept on Jürgen Conings by the section of the army for which he worked.

·        There is little if any exchange of information within the military internally or between the military and other security services.

·        There is no clear policy on extremism among military personnel.

·        In short, the report concludes that the military intelligence service is “neglected”. 


Committee I’s report stresses that others, for example the police, the Judicial Authorities, examining Magistrates, also made mistakes.  

In addition to ADIV other security services were aware of the potential threat posed by Jürgen Conings. On 29 June 2020 the State Security Service warned ADIV, the threat analysis body OCAD and the Federal Judicial Authorities about Jürgen Conings. 

The State Security Service wrote that Jürgen Coning moved in “the most radical far-right circles”. This shows that everyone was aware of the issues almost a year before Jürgen Conings went AWOL, but nothing further was done.

 

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