The terrorist attack in Oslo on 25th of June 2022 could have been prevented. The evaluation report provides an insight into failure after failure in the days leading up to the attack. New things emerge from the report, and PST appears in an increasingly worse light.
Among other things, it appears that PST (The Norwegian Security Police) was very focused on the threat from the far right, but ignored the threat posed by Islamists. As Per-Willy Amundsen told Documents Øyvind Thuestad, it seems that PST chose to act politically correct.
– What is incredible, painful and unforgivable is that this political correctness now also seems to have affected PST’s professional work, their follow-up of the various environments they are supposed to monitor, and that is serious, says the politician Per-Willy Amundsen (FrP).
Amundsen was secretary of justice in 2016 to 2018, and FrP is the most right leaning party in the Norwegian parliament, Stortinget.
The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has gone through in detail the last week before the terrorist attack. PST appears to be totally useless, and there is little doubt that they failed their mission completely. The E-service also makes mistakes, and their actions before the terrorist attack should also be scrutinized.
On Sunday 19 June, the Norwegian Defense Intelligence Service (E-service) receives information that a Norwegian IS sympathizer is planning a terrorist attack in Norway, and has tried to get in touch with IS to get help making a video to be distributed after the attack.
The e-service is quite certain that the Norwegian Islamist is Arfan Bhatti.
On Monday 20 June, the E-service calls PST to an urgent meeting via video. After this, communication weakens, the e-service promises to resend information, but this does not happen. PST starts an investigation to see if they agree that Bhatti is the likely IS sympathizer.
On Tuesday 21 June, the PST decides that they agree that the alert the E-service has received is probably about Bhatti, the counter-terrorist group comes to the same conclusion.
But since Bhatti is abroad, it cannot be him who will carry out the actual attack. They are therefore asking the PST to investigate Bhatti’s inner circle and social media.
Wednesday 22 June: PST ignores the E-service’s suggestions, and sets up a separate group to investigate who is trying to contact IS. But they do not examine Bhatti’s circle, and therefore overlook Matapour.
On the same day, a PST sends an e-mail to the E-service and asks for more information, but no one in the E-service reads the e-mail.
On Thursday 23 June, PST continues its investigations. Among other things, the group that works with open sources says that they are unsure how to solve the task, but they have found out that Bhatti has not updated his Facebook profile for a while.
The only problem is that PST has investigated the wrong account. 9 days earlier, Bhatti posted a post calling for the killing of homosexuals. This is overlooked by PST.
If the PST had discovered this, they would probably have carefully examined the circle around Bhatti, and then there would have been a high chance that Matapour would have been discovered. After all, Matapour has been in PST’s spotlight since 2016.
On Friday 24 June, the meeting between PST’s counter-terrorist group and the E-service will finally take place. 12 people from the E-service show up in Nydalen. But neither of the two case managers from PST can attend. One had left for the day, another was in another meeting.
One must ask questions about how PST prioritizes here. It is, after all, a real warning about a possible terrorist attack. PST sends four analysts who have not worked on the case. They have no information about Bhatti’s connection to the threat.
At the same time, they mention a situation where Bhatti was stopped in a car with a passenger after chasing people from SIAN. This person was Matapour, but the PST is unable to identify him.
The e-service shows Bhatti’s post on Facebook which is shown above. But none of them mentions that it is in the middle of pride month, and that there are more events the very next day.
PST decides to take the weekend off, and start up again on Monday.
On Saturday 25 June the terrorattack is a fact. Zaniar Matapour goes out of the tram near the Courthouse in Oslo, and is carrying a pistol and an automatic weapon. He opens fire on the pubs Per på hjørnet and London Pub. Two people are killed, nine others suffer gunshot wounds and 25 others suffer other types of injuries.
A terrorist attack that could have been far worse if brave civilians had not intervened.
The conclusion of the 25th June-committee is clear: The terrorist attack could have been prevented.
This could be expressed more strongly: The terrorist attack should have been prevented.