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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Labour opts for openness after all

The Labour Party’s new government minister Hadia Tajik gave in to demands from the parliament on Friday and decided that the testimony of government bureaucrats to the July 22 Commission would be made public after all. Tajik’s predecessor, Anniken Huitfeldt, had ruled that the non-elected bureaucrats would be spared public scrutiny.

Tajik had initially upheld Huitfeldt’s decision but changed her mind after the parliament’s disciplinary committee demanded to know what top bureaucrats like former police director Ingelin Killengreen, former PST boss Janne Kristiansen and Killengreen’s successor Øystein Mæland had told the commission. The committee is examining the commission’s report and conducting its own probe into the harshly criticized emergency response to the terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011.

Tajik said she would now make transcripts available, first to the commission and later to the public as well, with the exception of any information deemed confidential for reasons of national security. The transcripts must therefore be subject to editing and she couldn’t say exactly when they’d be publicly available.

The head of Norway’s national archives was the one who withdrew the transcripts from the public record, on the grounds their release could inhibit other state officials from speaking openly to state commissions in the future. Most politicians including Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg quickly made their own transcripts public but not the bureaucrats. Now Tajik has released them as well, not least since Stoltenberg and the Labour Party have advocated openness since the attacks occurred. staff



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