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Austrian parliament approves reform of national intelligence agency

Austria’s parliament on Thursday gave the green light for a reform of the national intelligence agency, intended to reduce the threat of terrorism.

Austria’s parliament on Thursday gave the green light for a reform of the national intelligence agency, intended to reduce the threat of terrorism.

In the new Directorate of State Protection and Intelligence (DNS), competencies would be shifted to the now separate areas of state police for danger prevention and the intelligence service for danger reconnaissance.

An information and situation centre is to determine and make available data on threats and potential attackers in a more targeted manner than before.

The reform was prompted in large parts by investigative mishaps in the run-up to the November 2020 terrorist attack in Vienna.

Political parties welcomed new parliamentary oversight measures, including a reporting obligation on the part of the Interior Minister.

In the future, an independent control body consisting of three experts will be appointed for 10 years by parliament with a two-thirds majority.

The former Federal Office for Protecting the Constitution and Fighting Terrorism (BVT) had made the headlines several times over the past years.

“The old BTV’s biggest problem was the loss of trust – both nationally and internationally,” said Interior Minister Karl Nehammer.

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