Norway PST an ‘international pipsqueak’ / News / The Foreigner

Norway PST an ‘international pipsqueak’. The Police Security Service has neither the competence nor the capacity when it comes to fighting terror, international experts say. Anders Behring Breivik struck without warning on 22 July, killing 77. There was silence from the PST in the first days following his attacks. The PST issued an updated risk assessment one week later, claiming, “The threat from Right-Wing extremist environments in Norway has not altered following the acts of terror.” The mass murderer had posted a manifesto and YouTube video online which he sent to hundreds of people, including Far-Right extremist group the English Defence League (EDL).

norwaypst, norwegianpolicesecurityservice, andersbehringbreivikinvestigations



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Norway PST an ‘international pipsqueak’

Published on Friday, 16th December, 2011 at 16:59 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 20th December 2011 at 20:48.

The Police Security Service has neither the competence nor the capacity when it comes to fighting terror, international experts say.

Police Security Service (PST) 2006
Police Security Service (PST) 2006
Photo: Penneknekt/Wikimedia Commons


“They were overwhelmed”

Anders Behring Breivik struck without warning on 22 July, killing 77. There was silence from the PST in the first days following his attacks. The PST issued an updated risk assessment one week later, claiming, “The threat from Right-Wing extremist environments in Norway has not altered following the acts of terror.”

The mass murderer had posted a manifesto and YouTube video online which he sent to hundreds of people, including Far-Right extremist group the English Defence League (EDL).

Interpol had informed the PST about Breivik after Breivik was flagged under international operation Global Shield. Security officials did nothing, first alleging it was not possible to detect him, then stating the information was considered surplus. They also claimed it was insufficient to warrant an investigation.

The PST has rejected public scrutiny into how it handled the Breivik affair, but Dr Jean-Luc Marret, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Transatlantic Relations at John Hopkins University, and Senior Fellow at the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, a think tank on international security issues in France, is not impressed by the Norwegians.

He tells The Foreigner, “Norway is not a big player on counter-terrorism. Without losing their values of community policing and prevention, they should either work more on Human Intelligence Espionage (HUMINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), or enhance cooperation bilaterally.”

“Many Euro Intel services perceived them as overwhelmed in the aftermath of Breivik's attacks. Strangely, they see NATO as the major player.”

Insular

Amongst last year’s spy scandal involving the US Embassy in Oslo, American diplomatic staff has also criticised the PST for its unprofessionalism.

Referring to how it handled investigations prior arresting three suspected al-Qaida- linked bombers in the capital, US ambassador Barry White wrote in a leaked US cable, “The PST is over its head regarding this investigation. They simply cannot keep up, not even after withdrawing all other surveillance from every other investigation in the country.”

Janne Kristiansen, Head of PST
Janne Kristiansen, Head of PST
PST/Flickr
Norwegian security officials lack proper resources, apparently disregard grave US warnings about terrorism, and are unable to handle “complex investigations”, according to the Ambassador.

Britain offered assistance with 24 Intelligence Officers but the PST declined and were apparently slow to investigate the bomb plot, the WikiLeaks-released document shows.

“There is a huge lag in relation to how long it takes the PST to interpret the information gathered, even after [we lent them at least two sets of surveillance tools].”

Moreover, a UK Police special advisor claims Norway has done too little to involve local communities in combating terrorism.

“Good counterterrorism cooperation is bilateral, in general – for example as the French-Spanish on ETA – and not multilateral. As a Frenchman, I think they [the Norwegians] should also work with EU bodies, which would help slightly,” says Mr Marret, who has talked to SWAT teams in France.

Limited

“Norway, like many other Western countries, has two intelligence services, in this case the Army’s and the Police’s. Military intelligence has a good reputation because it understands security,” says Asle Toje, security policy researcher at the University of Oslo, to The Foreigner, “but the Police’s and the PST don’t.”

He believes there are three ways to explain the PST’s substandard international anti-terror reputation.

“The PST lacks instructions to fight terror because of insufficient Norwegian legislation, it lacks resources, or it does not have the necessary competence, experience, and Intelligence.”

PST Director Janne Kristiansen, who has hit back at criticism but admits things could have been done better, was called home from a business trip early by Minister of Justice Grete Faremo to explain security officials’ role under Global Shield to Parliament’s 22 July Committee. Opposition politicians have made repeated calls for her resignation.

Whilst Minister Faremo is satisfied with Ms Kristiansen’s account for now, many in Norway wonder who the PST Director is really.




Published on Friday, 16th December, 2011 at 16:59 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 20th December 2011 at 20:48.

This post has the following tags: norwaypst, norwegianpolicesecurityservice, andersbehringbreivikinvestigations.


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