The Phaserl


After Brussels, State Dept. Declines to ‘Give Europe a Grade’ For Counterterror Cooperation

by Patrick Goodenough CNSnews:

Homeland As questions swirl around self-admitted “errors” by authorities in the lead up to Tuesday’s terror attack in Brussels, the State Department on Thursday declined to “give Europe a grade” on its counterterror cooperation within the bloc or with the U.S.

But spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. prior to the attack had “already seen a significant increase in coordination with our partners in Europe,” including information-sharing and adding suspects to watch lists.

“We all have to continue to increase our bilateral and our multilateral cooperation against terrorism,” he said. “And that’s partly just to close the gaps in our ability to identify these individuals and to prevent the next attack.”

The bombings that killed 31 people at Brussels airport and on a subway train have highlighted evident weaknesses in counterterrorism cooperation and liaison.

The Dutch justice minister confirmed Thursday that a Belgian-born suicide bomber involved in the attack had landed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport last July but was not arrested since his name did not appear on wanted terror suspects’ lists.

In a written statement to parliament, Ard van der Steur also said that a note at the time from the Turkish government – which had put Ibrahim el-Bakraoui on a flight from Istanbul to Schiphol – had given “no substantive information or guidance on the background” to its decision to deport him.

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