Over 2,000 people in Britain pose direct threat to national security: MI5 chief

November 14th, 2007 - 8:35 am ICT by admin  
This is an increase of 400. But what is more perturbing is the fact that there may be 2,000 more would-be terrorists who are not yet known to the authorities, Jonathan Evans said.

Evans said at a conference in Manchester that extremists in Britain were more likely than before to be connected to networks in other countries, and that they were increasingly grooming young people, including children, to carry out terrorist attacks.

The New York Times quoted him as saying that MI5 was being forced to divert resources from antiterrorism work “to defend the UK against unreconstructed attempts by Russia, China and others to spy on us.”

“A number of countries continue to devote considerable time and energy trying to steal our sensitive technology on civilian and military projects, and trying to obtain political and economic intelligence at our expense,” he said while criticizing Russia.

“Since the end of the cold war, we have seen no decrease in the numbers of undeclared Russian intelligence officers in the UK– at the Russian Embassy and associated organizations conducting covert activity in this country,” he added.

Evans went on to say that he believed the terrorist threat had not reached its peak and that new recruits were arriving in a “steady flow.”

“Terrorist attacks we have seen against the UK are not simply random plots by disparate and fragmented groups,” he said, adding, “The majority of these attacks, successful or otherwise, have taken place because al Qaeda has a clear determination to mount terrorist attacks against the United Kingdom.”

He said the would-be terrorists were cultivating ever younger volunteers and that people as young as 15 had been implicated in terrorist activity.

“As I speak, terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country,” he said. “They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism.”

Admitting that the intelligence agents were “under acute pressure to prioritise” and could not monitor every threat, he said: “There will be instances when individuals come to the notice of the security service or the police, but then subsequently carry out acts of terrorism.” (ANI)

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