Danish intelligence chief resigns before gun attack report

AP News
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Posted: May 06, 2015 2:34 PM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The head of Denmark's intelligence agency announced his resignation on Wednesday, hours before a government report was released criticizing some parts of the police response to the two fatal shooting attacks in Copenhagen in February.

Jens Madsen, who had been chief of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service since January 2014, said his tenure had been difficult. "It's no secret that it is a very demanding position," he said in a statement.

Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen, who released the government report Wednesday, declined to comment on Madsen's resignation and said she was generally pleased with the Danish police and the agency although there were some "criticisms in the report."

On Feb. 14, Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein gunned down a Danish film maker at a free speech event at a cultural center attended by Swedish artist Lars Vilks and several hours later fatally shot a Jewish guard outside Copenhagen's main synagogue. Five officers were also wounded in the attacks.

Ahead of the event, the police agency had gauged that Vilks was not in any immediate danger. The artist, who has received numerous threats for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons, was likely the main target of the attack.

Frederiksen described the agency and the police as "well-prepared and well-organized," noting that it had identified the shooter within 12 hours of the first attack, but pointed out that officers weren't posted outside the synagogue until nearly four hours after that attack.

"That is too long," she said. "It is obviously not satisfactory. It cannot be explained."

Prison officials had placed Denmark-born El-Hussein, who has Palestinian parents, on a list of inmates they considered at risk of Islamic radicalization, but the intelligence agency said the information it had received gave it no reason to believe the 22-year-old had been planning any attacks.

El-Hussein, who had been in prison on a stabbing conviction, was killed in a shootout with a SWAT team early Feb. 15 in central Copenhagen.