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Interior Minister Calls for Centralization of Terror Fight

German Interior Minister Otto Schily of the Social Democrats is calling for more terror- and organized crime-fighting competencies currently controlled at the state level to be taken over by the federal government. Schily's spokesman said the minister is drafting a constitutional amendment that, if passed, would shift authority for defending against terrorism to the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation. Currently much of that responsibility is held by the independent offices for criminal investigation in Germany's 16 states. But some states criticized the proposal. North Rhine-Westphalia's interior minister, Fritz Behrens of the Social Democrats told reporters: "Centralization holds more perils for security work than opportunities." Behrens said the current constitutional division of responsibilities between the states and the federal government for crime fighting should remain in place.