Dutch journalist gatecrashes confidential video call of EU’s defence ministers


Through: Express Web Office | New Delhi |

Updated: Nov. 22, 2020 10:35:33 a.m.

Verlaan looked visibly surprised and started waving enthusiastically when he realized he had been let on the call. (Photo: Twitter / DanielVerlaan)

A virtual meeting of the European Union (EU) Defense Minister was briefly interrupted after a Dutch journalist managed to gatecrash the confidential video call.

Journalist Daniel Verlaan of RTL Nieuws said he got access to the call after Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld accidentally released the first five digits of the six-digit PIN code needed to join the meeting in online, the BBC reported.

It didn’t take Verlaan many attempts to crack the code as he found himself onscreen with several of the EU’s top ministers, including foreign policy chief Josep Borrell – who appeared to be caught off guard by the intrusion.

Verlaan looked visibly surprised and began to wave excitedly when he realized he had been let on the call. “Do you know you got into a secret conference?” Borrell is heard asking the reporter in a video of the conference shared widely on social media.

“Yes yes. I’m sorry. I’m a journalist from the Netherlands. I’m sorry I interrupted your lecture,” replied Verlaan, to laughter from the ministers in the background. “I’ll be leaving here.”

“You know it’s a criminal offense, huh?” Borrell joked, suppressing a smile. “You better sign quickly before the police arrive.”

But not everyone took the incident lightly. A spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Council told RTL News that the breach would be reported to authorities, the BBC reported. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Dutch Defense Ministry said the pin tweet was a “stupid mistake”.

“It shows how careful you have to be when sending a photo of a meeting,” they said. Apart from a photograph of Dutch Defense Minister Bijleveld’s laptop screen, where his other European counterparts were visible, part of the pin had also been accidentally shared from the minister’s account.

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