EU parliament drivers had ISIS propaganda, also criminal records – report
CDs containing Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) propaganda have been found in the possession of two drivers. They allegedly worked for the European Parliament, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the situation.
One driver is said to have worked in Strasbourg, the main venue for the EP plenary sessions, while the other held a job in Brussels where parliamentary committee meetings usually take place.
Both employees were later fired from a private chauffeur company, Der Spiegel reported, providing no further details. According to Der Spiegel’s report, it was also revealed that a number of other drivers “had serious criminal records,” prompting the EP administration to cease outsourcing transportation services and recruit drivers directly from the parliament’s personnel.
The European Parliament declined to comment due to security considerations, according to Reuters. Belgian police were not immediately available for comment either.
Sixty-five drivers are currently hired via private transportation providers to serve the 751 MEPs in Brussels. There are also 85 privately contracted drivers in Strasbourg, the official seat of the European Parliament, in addition to 23 drivers employed by the parliament, according to Der Spiegel.
Intelligence officials have previously noted IS’ capabilities to infiltrate Europe and carry out terror attacks on critical infrastructure and at public events across the continent. These homegrown terrorists are EU nationals, some of whom have experience of fighting alongside IS in Syria and Iraq.
Last week, the EP spokesman said that one of the suspects involved in the Brussels attacks worked as a janitor at the parliamentary building and had access to MEPs’ offices. The suspect – later identified by EU officials as Najim Laachraoui, 25, who blew himself during the attack on the airport in Brussels – held the job from 2009 to 2010.
He “worked for a period of one month for a cleaning company which was contracted by the European Parliament at the time,” spokesman Jaume Duch Guillot said in a statement.