Almost one month has passed since the 22 July Commission presented its flailing report about police and security failures but several top Norwegian officials’ testimonies are to stay hushed up for procedural and practical reasons, reports say.
Several security officials have resigned, ostensibly on their own initiative and for different reasons, following Anders Behring Breivik’s twin attacks. Others have, or could change posts.
At the same time, six top bureaucrats are involved in the current move to keep what they said under oath secret. They are:
Rigmor Aasrud, Minister of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs: part of the Grubbegata non-closure affair.
Former national police director Øystein Mæland: he stepped down in the same week the 22 July Commission presented its report following a hastily convened meeting.
Ingelin Killengreen, advisor at the Ministry of Reform and Church Affairs: She was Mæland’s predecessor for 11 years.
Ex Police Security Service (PST) director Janne Kristiansen: Her staff did not act following an Interpol tip-off about Breivik after he was flagged as part of international customs operation ‘Global Shield’. She resigned after revealing classified information about Norwegian intelligence operatives in Pakistan.
Knut Storberget, former Minister of Justice: Storberget presented his account of events that took place during and after
GAD/Wikimedia CommonsBreivik’s assaults to parliament. He stepped down a day later for what may were reportedly health and family commitment reasons. Tri-partite coalition members praised him for his work for improving Norway’s criminal rehabilitation system.
Nina Frisaks, advisor at the Prime Minister’s Office: She had told the 22 July Commission about what work was done to secure government headquarters.
The decision to keep what was said under wraps was Norwegian National Archives director General Ivar Fonnes’ He argues that these “are not complied with a view to making them public, and cannot be regarded as complete.”
“In our view, these minutes in isolation could be misleading, especially when seen in connection with other information the Commission has had access to,” he writes.
“[The Director General thinks these testimonies] will probably make future inquiry committees’ work difficult, as relevant people and bodies may be reluctant to speak openly and honestly and divulge important information,” Aftenposten reports him as writing.
The Association of Norwegian Editors alleges keeping these six persons’ six accounts classified “abuses the Freedom of Information Act’s exemption clause regarding so-called internal documents.”
“The provision’s purpose was to exempt documents that have to be regarded as a draft and unfinished,” says Secretary-general Nils E. Øy. “In this case, it’s about completed deposition, much like in a court of law, which should have been transparent, especially in a matter such as this.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg continues his work with the support of his trip-partite coalition colleagues,
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at 22 July press conference
©2012 Sarah Pettersen/The Foreignerassimilating and acting upon the 22 July Commission’s report, and taking responsibility. Addressing the nation last year at the memorial concert in Oslo Spektrum, he called for “more openness and more democracy.”
The Opposition still felt there were unanswered questions following the Prime Minister’s account under the recent extraordinary parliamentary session.
Christian Democrat (KrF) leader Knut Arild Hareide, who is to bring these before parliament’s Standing Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs, declared afterwards that, “the painful truth is that security failure is the largest in Norway since the Second World War.”
The Foreigner asked him what suggestions he has for Stoltenberg outside his account’s rhetoric and the timeframe for implementation of measures outlined in a forthcoming whitepaper.
Mr Hareide told The Foreigner in an email that his Party expects “the PM to deliver his whitepaper about this to the Parliament in some months, but in time for the Parliament to be able to discuss the matter thoroughly before the election next autumn.”
“The whitepaper must deliver a wide range of measures with timeframes, regarding culture, leadership, coordination, training, and organisation. Until then, we expect the PM to follow up his promises of concrete and fast action, in the upcoming budget in October and in the initiatives for change of culture and leadership that he gave notice of in his statement.”
The Conservatives (H) did not respond, but Progress Party (FrP) leader Siv Jensen answered, “what’s important now is
Siv Jensen, leader, Progress Party
FrPthat we must get things moving fast. There`s no time for empty rhetoric, now it`s time for action, and I urge the Prime Minister to start acting today.”
“The Progress Party has already put forward a proposal with ten measures that should be carried into effect, including a comprehensive reorganization of the police force, a commitment to an extensive use of, investment in and improvement of the use of ICT, and the implementation of 24/7 helicopter readiness.”
According to Liberal (V) leader Trine Skei Grande, “I said from parliament’s rostrum last year that Norway failed its own citizens 22 July. Unfortunately, this turned out to be truer than I thought.”
“The Prime Minister is good at getting things going. Perhaps he should set himself a deadline for when he should have done them.”
Like this article? Show your appreciation.