BRITAIN’S SPY CHIEF has warned that the UK is facing its most severe terror threat and warned that fresh attacks in the country are inevitable.
Andrew Parker, the Director of MI5, said the UK had seen “a dramatic upshift in the threat” from Islamic terrorism this year, referencing attacks that have taken place across Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Parsons Green.
He also said: “That threat is multi-dimensional, evolving rapidly and operating at a scale and pace we’ve not seen before, It’s at the highest tempo I have seen in my 34-year career. Today there is more terrorist activity, coming at us more quickly, and it can be harder to detect.” he added.
MI5 is under pressure to demonstrate its effectiveness after four Islamist terrorist attacks escaped its detection this year.
Parker said MI5 had stopped far more terror plots than those that caused mass casualties this year. He said 20 plots had been thwarted in the last four years.
Seven plots had been stopped before jihadists could strike in the last seven months alone, Parker added. “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.”
Parker added that military defeat in Syria and Iraq for Islamic State did not mean its threat would wane. “Meanwhile, Daesh [Isis] itself is under military pressure and is rapidly losing ground in its heartland in Syria and Iraq. So much so that it’s now advising would-be fighters to choose other countries … At the same time, the Daesh brand has taken root in some other countries where areas of low governance give it space to grow.”
Parker also added that social media companies have an “ethical responsibility” to do more to help suppress terrorism.
He warned that “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. 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.”