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Why was the crazed axe murderer allowed into Denmark?

A number of strange a contradictory reports have emerged about the Somali national who attempted to kill controverisal Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard with an axe in his home on New Year’s Day, but it’s becoming clear that someone dropped the ball in allowing the man to take up residency in Denmark. One Danish paper is ...

BRIAN RASMUSSEN/AFP/Getty Images
BRIAN RASMUSSEN/AFP/Getty Images

A number of strange a contradictory reports have emerged about the Somali national who attempted to kill controverisal Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard with an axe in his home on New Year’s Day, but it’s becoming clear that someone dropped the ball in allowing the man to take up residency in Denmark.

One Danish paper is reporting that Danish intelligence services were aware that the man — who has not been named because of privacy laws — was held for seven weeks in Kenya in September for helping to plot an attack against U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. U.S. officials and the Danish embassy in Kenya have both denied the report and say the man was held for having incomplete travel documents.The Danish embassy says it was never made aware by Kenyan authorities that he had been suspected of terrorist activity:

However, while not acknowledging the Clinton plot, the Danish intelligence agency PET acknowledged the man’s ties to African terrorist groups:

“The person arrested. has close links with the Somali terrorist organisation al-Shabaab as well as with the heads of al-Qaeda in East Africa,” the agency said in a statement.

“He is also suspected of being implicated in terrorist activities when he was in east Africa. The individual arrested has also been a member of a terrorist network implanted in Denmark that has been under surveillance by PET for a long time.”

The statement doesn’t really say whether the individual himself was under observation or when they had become aware of his background before or after he was granted residency in Denmark. There will probably be a lot more investigation in the coming weeks of whether it was the Kenyans or the Danes who messed up. 

I generally think it’s not fair to expect authorities to take every report of a potential security threat seriously, but this case as well as the U.S. plane bombing both highlight how much ground the international community needs to make up on intergovernmental intelligence sharing on terrorism suspects. I have to think that a concerted effort in this area should be a higher priority than new airport scanners or security procedures.  

 Twitter: @joshuakeating
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