M15 Issues A Threat Warning

Britain is experiencing a terrorist offensive which is as unrelenting as it is unprecedented, drawing from a growing pool of Islamist extremists, and with some murderous plots taking just a few days from inception to the point of attack, the head of MI5 has warned.

Andrew Parker, the director general (pictured), said he had never faced such a high tempo of attempted and successful bombings, shootings and stabbings in his 34 years of working in the Security Service. With jihadis returning from fighting in Isis ranks in Syria and Iraq, and the Internet providing motivation and material, the pace of violence shows no sign of falling.
The Internet has provided terrorists with access and immediacy. “They can go online to get explosives and learn how to build a bomb”, said the director general.  

As a result, they can “accelerate from inception to planning to action in just a handful of days, exploiting safe space online which can make it harder to detect and gives us a smaller window to intervene”.

The Internet providers had a duty to help protect public safety, Mr Parker said. He did not want to dwell, he said, too much on specific matters such as encryption, which have been used by terrorists to plan and communicate, arguing there needs to be an element of partnership on this vital issue between Government and private industry.
“The threat is more diverse than I’ve ever known. Plots developed here in the UK, but plots directed from overseas as well. Plots online, complex scheming and also crude stabbings, lengthy planning, but also spontaneous attacks.
“Extremists of all ages, gender and backgrounds, united only by the toxic ideology of violent victory that drives them. These threats are sometimes now coming at us more quickly, whether crude but lethal attack methods, for example using a knife or a vehicle, or more sophisticated plots.”

Technological advance was inevitable and welcome, Mr Parker said. “But an unintended side effect is that these advances also aid the terrorists. Whether it’s the ease of online purchasing, social media content, or encrypted communications, addressing these challenges is about partnerships and ethical responsibility,” he said.
“No company wants to provide terrorists with explosive precursors. Social media platforms don’t want to host bomb-making videos. And communications providers don’t want to provide the means of terrorist planning beyond the sight of MI5. 
“Some helpful action is being taken. But there is a challenge of pace, volume and reach as these technologies continue to develop so rapidly. We have a shared responsibility to do all that we can to prevent terrorist exploitation of Internet-carried services.”

MI5 is doing its utmost and achieving success against terrorists, said Mr Parker. “I’ve always been clear that we can’t hope to stop everything. But I can tell you that MI5 and our partner agencies are bringing the full weight of our growing capabilities to counter this new intensity of threat. 

Independent

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