Austria’s authorities has promised a root-and-branch reform of its intelligence neighborhood after a damning official inquiry blamed spymasters for failing to stop the lethal terror assault in Vienna in November.
Inside minister Karl Nehammer vowed to erect “a brand new, sturdy wall of the republic” by changing the nation’s safety service — the Federal Workplace for the Safety of the Structure and Counterterrorism [BVT] — with a “genuinely new” organisation.
Talking at a press convention in Vienna, Nehammer mentioned he would double the scale of Austria’s counter-terrorism effort and set robust new nationwide safety laws in movement.
The official unbiased report into Austria’s worst terror assault in many years was revealed on Wednesday and listed quite a few failures by the BVT.
“The [repeatedly] promised restructuring of the BVT ought to now be carried out transparently and with out additional delays,” concluded prison lawyer Ingeborg Zerbes, who led the inquiry.
4 individuals have been killed and 23 injured by a lone Islamist gunman who marauded by means of the streets of Vienna’s outdated metropolis on the night of November 2 earlier than he was shot by police response groups.
Armed with a rifle, handgun and machete, the attacker started his rampage at round 8pm outdoors Vienna’s principal synagogue, and went on to focus on bars and eating places. The town centre was crowded with Viennese celebrating their final night out earlier than the imposition of a brand new lockdown to fight the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which got here into pressure at midnight.
The perpetrator — a 20-year-old Austrian, Kujtim Fejzullai — had beforehand served a jail sentence for making an attempt to journey to Syria to affix Isis.
The BVT had been warned by its Slovakian counterpart earlier than the assault that Fejzullai had tried to obtain ammunition.
The Zerbes inquiry’s report gave putting element of how the BVT saved no central, digitised database for its workers to collate intelligence on individuals of curiosity and produce leads on rising terror threats.
It additionally painted an image of chaotic communication and rivalry in Austria’s regionalised safety equipment, with a burdensome stage of native autonomy.
Reacting to the findings, Austrian vice-chancellor, Werner Kogler — chief of the junior coalition accomplice Inexperienced get together within the conservative-led authorities of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz — mentioned the BVT was a “failure” and have to be “reorganised from prime to backside”.
The nation wanted an intelligence service “with the very best brains and actual management by parliament, as has lengthy been the case elsewhere in Europe”, mentioned Kogler.
The inquiry’s findings will make uncomfortable studying for Kurz, who has lengthy put nationwide safety and public security on the centre of his politics.
The report mentioned plans to criminalise “political Islam” — the centrepiece of recent anti-terror laws championed by the chancellor within the aftermath of the assault — have been “superfluous”.
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