The 33-year-old extremist said he did not fear death and that militant nationalists in Europe had a lot to learn from al-Qaeda, including its methods and the glorification of martyrdom.
“If I had feared death I would not have dared to carry out this operation,” Breivik said. “I view 21 years in prison as a pathetic sentence.”
Asked by the prosecutor if he would rather have received a death penalty – which does not exist in Norwegian law – he said: “I don’t wish for it, but I would have respected that decision.
“There are only two outcomes in this case that I had respected, that is the death penalty or acquittal.”
Earlier, his claims of belonging to a secret anti-Muslim militia appeared to crack after he admitted it was “not an organisation in a conventional sense”.
But Breivik, who admits killing 77 people in a bomb-and-shooting massacre in Norway last summer, insisted the mysterious group did exist, when questioned by prosecutors on the third day of his trial in Oslo.
He refused to give details, including when questioned about a meeting in London when the group was supposedly founded.
“It is not in my interests to shed light on details that could lead to arrests,” he said.
Prosecutors believe that the “Knights Templar” group that Breivik described in an online manifesto as “a nationalist military order and military/criminal tribunal” does not exist. Breivik said police had not done a good enough job in uncovering it.
The group consisted of “independent cells”, he added, “and therefore in the long term will be a leaderless organisation”.
The issue is of key importance in determining Breivik’s sanity, and whether he is sent to prison or into compulsory psychiatric care for the massacre last July.
Breivik claims to have carried out the attacks on behalf of the organisation, which he described in the 1,500-page compendium he posted online before the attacks as a militant nationalist group fighting a Muslim colonisation of Europe.
Prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh pressed him about details on the group, its members and its meetings. Breivik claimed to have met a Serb “war hero” living in exile during a trip to Liberia in 2002, but he refused to identify him.
“What is it you’re getting at?” Breivik asked the prosecutor, then answered the question himself, saying prosecutors want to “sow doubt over whether the KT network exists”.
Ms Bejer Engh challenged him on whether a meeting took place. “There was a meeting, in London,” Breivik said. “I haven’t made up anything. What is in the compendium is correct.”
Breivik’s defensive answers contrasted with the assertive posture he took on Tuesday, when he boasted he had carried out the most “spectacular” attack by a nationalist militant since the Second World War.
Christin Bjelland, deputy head of a support group for survivors of the 22 July massacre, said: “I think what we are watching is the revelation of a sort of fantasy or a dream.”
Breivik admits he detonated a bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people, then drove to Utöya island outside the capital and shot dead 69 people at the governing Labour Party’s youth summer camp.
He said his victims were legitimate targets because they were representatives of a “multiculturalist” regime he claims is destroying Norway’s national identity.