|EU Security Coordination In Poor Shape|
Despite the knowledge, the intelligence and security apparatus in Brussels — home to most of the European Union agencies — was limited and ill-prepared to handle the alert,
In other developments Wednesday, March 23, Turkey’s prime minister said his country last year arrested one of the Brussels attackers and deported him to the Netherlands, but Belgium ignored warnings that he was a militant.
“One of the Brussels attackers was detained in Gaziantep (in southern Turkey (close to the Syrian border) and then deported” to the Netherlands, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters about Ibrahim El Bakraoui.
Turkey said it warned both Belgium and the Netherlands that Ibrahim was a “foreign terrorist fighter.”
Dutch authorities later allowed him to go free because Belgian authorities could not establish any ties to terrorism, an official in the Turkish president’s office said.
Turkey formally notified Belgium of the 29-year-old Belgian national’s deportation on July 14, 2015.
The announcement came after authorities said they discovered a cache of explosives in a house and a farewell note from an airport suicide bomber — one of two brothers identified in the attacks.
The brothers were identified as Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, both of whom had extensive criminal records but had not been on watch lists as potential terror threats.
What Europe does not have is any cross-national agency with the power to carry out its own investigation and make its own arrests.
This means that cross-border policing in the European Union has big holes. It depends heavily on informal cooperation rather than formal institutions with independent authority.
Sometimes this works reasonably well. Sometimes this works particularly badly. Belgium is a notorious problem case, because its policing arrangements are heavily localized.
In the past, many Belgian policing forces have had difficulty cooperating with each other, let alone with other European forces.
Europe has to put some serious thought into setting up a "Pan European Security Network" to coordinate, trace, find, capture and if need be, eliminate security threats to its citizens. This has to happen pretty quickly.