The Corner

National Security & Defense

How Can Any Western Country Get Caught Off Guard By Terrorism?

From the Thursday Morning Jolt…

Heck of a Job, Germany.

Just what does a guy have to do to get deported by Germany?

The prime suspect sought in the deadly attack on a Berlin Christmas market — a 24-year-old Tunisian migrant — was the subject of a terrorism probe in Germany earlier this year and was not deported even though his asylum bid was rejected, a senior German official said Wednesday.

The suspect — who went by numerous aliases but was identified by German authorities as Anis Amri — became the subject of a national manhunt after investigators discovered a wallet with his identity documents in the truck used in Monday’s attack that left 12 dead, two law enforcement officials told The Washington Post. 

Meanwhile, a clearer portrait took shape of the suspect, including accusations that he had contact with a prominent Islamic State recruiter in Germany.

The Daily Mail reports, “He was put on a danger list shortly after arriving in Germany in June last year, which meant authorities considered him prone to extreme violence. Yet just how much surveillance he was under remains unclear.” Wait, somebody can be on a “danger list, prone to extreme violence” and not under surveillance?

The Wall Street Journal paints a thoroughly unnerving and depressing portrait of Germany internal counter-terrorism operations:

Successive mishaps in a separate case suggest the flaws in Germany’s antiterror effort run through the entire length of its security apparatus, from its long underfunded domestic intelligence to its police work and prison system.

In October, a police SWAT team stormed a flat in the eastern German city of Chemnitz in search of Jaber Albakr, a man suspected of planning a suicide bomb attack on a Berlin airport. He managed to flee on foot, partly because the officers’ tactical equipment was too heavy for them to catch up, security officials said at the time. Inside the flat, officers discovered large quantities of homemade TATP explosive.

Mr. Albakr was later caught in Leipzig—not by police but by Syrian refugees who restrained him and handed him over. Once he was detained, the Leipzig prison staff couldn’t immediately locate an interpreter to question him. When the prison’s psychologist finally interviewed him, she decided Mr. Albakr wasn’t a suicide risk. Two days after he was detained, Mr. Albakr’s lifeless body was found hanged in his cell.

Compared with France and the U.S., Germany is newer to facing the terror threat, a U.S. official said, adding more needs to be done in the country to overcome privacy concerns and allow deeper coordination among authorities on cases of interest.

Wait, how can any Western country be caught off guard by the “terror threat”? The 9/11 attacks were fifteen years ago! In the interim we’ve had the London bombings, the Madrid bombings, the Charlie Hebdo attack, the Paris attacks including the Bataclan theater, the Brussels airport bombing, the Nice truck attack, the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults all over Germany and the Normandy Church attack. You’re telling me the land of the Munich Olympics, the Baader-Meinhof gang, and the Red Army Faction attacks in the 1970s has forgotten about the threat of terrorism?

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