A secret report prepared for the Belgian parliament by former police and judicial officials from the Standing Police Monitoring Committee claims that national authorities had multiple opportunities to stop the terrorists responsible for recent attacks in Paris and Brussels.
“Belgian police had numerous chances to unmask the Islamic State terror cell,” writes The Wall Street Journal‘. “They muffed every one.”
The watchdog, generally known as Committee P, described how the Belgian police stopped Paris attacker Brahim Abdeslam, already on the terror watchlist, in early 2015, arresting him for drugs-related offences. Abdelbasam supplied the police with a fake e-mail address and was found to be in possession of an Islamist booklet on “Parental consent for the Jihad” and as USB drive hidden behind his car radio.
The fake e-mail address was not discovered, however, and the police investigated neither the USB drive nor any other electronic devices subsequently seized from the apartment Abdeslam shared with younger brother Salah, another member of the terror cell.
Informant tips and a financial paper trail were also allowed to go cold as various disconnected agencies working with multiple databases and computer systems dating from as far back as 1985 were unable to co-operate effectively.
The failings in Belgium echo similar failings in Germany. Anis Amri, the Tunisian migrant responsible for driving a lorry into a Christmas market in Berlin last December, had been flagged as a terror risk at least seven times and even subjected to a deportation order before he finally executed his attack.
Breitbart reported at the time how in the immediate aftermath of the atrocity, Green Party politician Till Steffen had pictures of Amri censored. Steffen was allegedly concerned about the images provoking “racist” comments on social media.
The terrorist was subsequently able to roam free through the European Union’s open-borders Schengen Area before a random stop-and-search in Italy uncovered him by coincidence. He shot one of the policemen who discovered him before being killed himself by rookie officer Luca Scatà.
These events come among calls for a European Union (EU) Security Union, as proposed by the President of the European Commission, and plans mooted by the Belgian prime minister for a pan-European spy agency modelled on the American CIA.
The existing Europol agency, like many national security agencies in EU member-states, has proven vulnerable to serious leaks, with former CIA and NSA director General Michael Hayden warning that EU bureaucracy actually “gets in the way” of the UK “providing security for its citizens”.
General Hayden was echoing remarks made by former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, who during Britain’s referendum on membership of the EU that Brexit “would help our security” by enhancing immigration controls.
At present, EU nationals and residents hailing from hotbeds of European Islamism, such as Belgium’s Molenbeek, can travel to the UK virtually unchecked on passports and even simple ID cards which, it has been revealed are easily forged.