Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) is to police itself over how it acted regarding Anders Behring Breivik’s attacks.
Officials have established two committees to assess intelligence work leading up to the 22 July, and efforts following the acts of terror, reports Dagsavisen. Attempts to gain interviews and names have failed.
“We considered allowing the media to talk with heads of the committees but have concluded it would not be appropriate now. However, we can say that these have begun their work to gather information. We don’t wish to comment on the matter further,” says PST information Manager Martin Bernsen.
The PST and its leader Janne Kristiansen have endured intense criticism about how they handled Breivik matter. Despite having to wipe key extremist information for legal reasons, it apparently failed to act on key Interpol and Norwegian customs information flagging the mass murderer’s purchase of chemicals used to make the bomb, arguing the information was surplus.
One week following the attacks, it issued an updated threat assessment that alleged “The threat from Right-Wing extremist environments in Norway has not altered following the acts of terror”, despite experts’ counterarguments.
Ms Kristiansen has also made some questionable comments referencing Hitler and Stasi, and Opposition MPs have called for her resignation. She issued an apology recently.
Several justice politicians censure the PST for their decision to conduct a closed inquiry. Labour’s (Ap) Jahn Bøhler says, “The PST must be prepared to communicate and manage to withstand critical scrutiny, even though it adheres to a framework defensible for an intelligence service.”
Akhtar Chaudry, tripartite government coalition representative for the Socialist Left (SV), raises the question of the PST’s credibility.
“It has been given a great deal of trust and responsibility in our country’s system. We have not seen it has adopted a tone showing a willingness to learn after the 22 July.”
The Conservatives’ (H) André Oktay Dahl says his Party has asked for “an independent review of the PST’s role, resources, and assignments”, and will be putting the committee matter forward in Parliament.
Gunnar A. Johansen, information Manager at the Ministry of Justice, the PST’s superior authority, alleges the committees are nothing to do with them, but says, “The ministry and PST have regular meetings. I expect the committees’ work will probably be a theme during these.”
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