Anders Thornberg said in an interview with Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Sunday night that France had one of the best professional security services in Europe and suggested that it was too early to describe its work as a “failure” in the wake of the Paris attacks.
“I do not use that word yet, we need to know what has happened and analyze it,” he said, arguing that there should be “in-depth” and “outside the box” thinking.
“The French security service is one of Europe’s best – incredibly talented,” he also told Sveriges Radio.
The 56-year-old, who has been Director General of Säpo since 2012 added that Swedish authorities were helping the French security service following the violence on Friday night that left 132 people dead.
“I do not want to say exactly what we are doing, it is important that the French lead this investigation and take information. But we have people in place and we have an exchange of information,” he told the radio broadcaster.
Asked about how the Swedish authorities felt following such a large terror attack in another European country, he said: “We have never had so much pressure. It is a historic challenge.”
His comments emerged after it was claimed over the weekend that more people per capita have joined extremist Islamist groups from Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg than from anywhere else in Europe.
Previous statistics from Säpo have suggested that just over 300 Swedish nationals have left the country to travel to fight with militant organisation Isis (also known as the Islamic State, IS or Daesh).
It is estimated that 40 percent of those are from the Gothenburg area, primarily from the suburbs of Bergsjön and Angered, which have a reputation for violence.