Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Norway Panel on Massacre Finds Litany of Government Failures

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Norway Panel on Massacre Finds Litany of Government Failures

Article excerpt

STAVANGER, Norway -- An independent inquest into the mass killings in Norway last summer by a fanatical anti-Muslim extremist sharply rebuked the country's police and intelligence services Monday, saying they could have averted or at least disrupted his successful plot to bomb downtown Oslo and shoot unarmed people unimpeded at a summer youth camp.

The inquest by the panel, the July 22 Commission, named after the date of the massacre, said police had failed in their duty to protect the camp on Utoya Island, where 69 people, most of them teenagers, were killed by the extremist, Anders Behring Breivik.

The inquest also faulted police in Oslo, where hours earlier, Mr. Breivik had parked a van packed with explosives that killed eight people. He was seen in a getaway car that he had driven to the island, but police officers failed to share a description of the vehicle.

The 500-page report by the panel chronicled what amounted to a litany of errors and blunders at nearly every level of law enforcement in Norway, which was traumatized by the attacks' scale and audacity. A number of top judicial and security officials have already resigned over the failure to thwart Mr. Breivik.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said he "deeply regretted" the failures outlined by the panel, which was given wide latitude by the government to examine evidence and interview witnesses.

Mr. Breivik bragged about the killings during his trial and asserted that he had acted to save Norway from multiculturalism. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 24. Prosecutors have suggested that he be committed to psychiatric care instead of prison.

While much of what was contained in the inquest commission's report was already known, it revealed that Norway's internal intelligence service, the PST, had been informed by customs officials seven months before the attacks that Mr. …

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