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Terror at home

July 25, 2011

In the wake of the Norway terror attacks, authorities are looking at possible German targets highlighted in the suspect's so-called 'manifesto.' German politicians are also reconsidering their stance on data retention.

Angela Merkel
Breivik called Merkel a 'traitor' in his online manifestImage: AP

As the case against the main suspect in the Norway attack is examined in Oslo, politicians are also looking at the right-wing extremist 'manifesto' that the suspect published just before committing Friday's acts.

In the 1,500 page document, Anders Breivik highlights potential targets for future terror campaigns, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The chancellor is listed as a 'traitor' alongside other European figureheads as Nicolas Sarkozy and Jose Manuel Barroso. The suspect also listed all the main German political parties and their leaders as potential targets.

The German security authorities said on Monday there is no apparent connection between the attacks in Norway and the right-wing scene in Germany. When asked if Merkel was a target, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said it was time to leave the Norwegian authorities to do their work.

Data retention is 'urgent'

Following the tragic events in Norway, politicians in Germany are examining whether it is time to introduce methods of holding on to people's data in order to tackle extremism and terrorism.

"We need data retention," said Hans-Peter Uhl, the home affairs spokesperson for the CDU/CSU group in parliament.

Speaking to the Passauer Neuen Presse newspaper, Uhl said that in future it will be necessary to monitor internet traffic and telephone conversations. "Only then can the investigators trace communication during the planning of attacks, thus thwarting such acts and protecting people," Uhl said.

His viewpoint is supported by Rolf Tophoven, director of the Institute for Crisis Prevention in Essen, who called the re-introduction of data retention an "urgent need."

Justice Minister sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
The current justice minister opposes the re-introduction of data retentionImage: picture-alliance/Sven Simon

"We're not talking about some Orwellian surveillance state, but necessary tools for investigators to enforce laws," Tophoven also told the newspaper.

The current Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, has said that data from the internet or telephone calls should only be held if there are concrete suspicions.

Uhl conceded that in a free society, there can never be full prevention of acts such as the one committed in Norway.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (dapd, AFP)
Editor: Andreas Illmer