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Norway Needs Urgent Fix in Terror Preparedness, Commission Says

August 13, 2012

Norway needs to make a number of urgent changes in its ability to respond to terror attacks, said Alexandra Bech Gjoerv, head of the commission in charge of reviewing the response to last year’s twin attacks.

The group’s review found “large weaknesses” and agreed on six main findings, she said today as she handed the July 22 Commission report to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The 10- person group is headed by lawyer and former Statoil ASA executive Gjoerv and also includes the former head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service, academics, executives as well as police officials from neighboring Denmark and Finland.

The report is “very important” because it will give us common knowledge of what happened and will be “central” in the debate that will come, Stoltenberg said at the ceremony.

The 10-week trial of confessed murderer Anders Behring Breivik ended in Oslo on June 22. The verdict is scheduled for Aug. 24 as the judges need to decide whether the man responsible for the worst peace-time massacre in Norwegian history is sane enough for prison. The 33-year-old Oslo native massacred 69 people -- some as young as 14 --- at a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoeya, after earlier detonating a car bomb by the prime minister’s office in Oslo, killing eight.

Police have faced criticism for their response to events at the island, where Breivik was able to keep shooting for more than an hour. Police were also unaware of a helicopter stationed in Oslo on the day of the attacks and their rapid response team used a car and a boat to reach the island, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Oslo. The first vessel they used to reach the island experienced engine problems, delaying the operation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Josiane Kremer in Oslo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at

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