The security forces are virtually powerless to stop atrocities like the Woolwich murder, a former MI6 chief admitted. Maybe he should confer with Ray Kelly, Chief of the NYPD, because he thinks his forces can, and so far they have been successful. Then again, in New York, we are not barred from profiling Muslims and spying on mosques. Yet!
The photos and headlines below out of England speak volumes about their inability to stop terrorism. If you allow Muslim immigrants to spit on your country, how do you expect to stop them from destroying it from within?
Express (h/t bains) Amid growing fears of copycat attacks and rising community tensions, Richard Barrett said preventing such terror attacks was “incredibly hard”.
As if to illustrate his point, two RAF fighter jets had to be scrambled yesterday to escort a Pakistan airliner to Stansted airport, Essex, after two Muslim passengers tried to get into the cockpit. The plane, which had been bound for Manchester, landed safely and two men were arrested.
In Warwickshire, police shut the M6 in both directions near Coventry while a “suspicious vehicle” was investigated. And London Bridge railway station was closed as police were alerted to a man with an axe. Passengers were allowed back in and services resumed after about half an hour.
David Cameron was warned of the danger of follow-up attacks at a meeting of Cobra, the Government’s emergency committee, as military bases were put on high alert.
Killers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were both known to MI5 but were classed as fringe figures who did not merit full scale monitoring.
MI5 chiefs are facing tough questions about how much was known about the two men and when they were last “on the radar”. But Mr Barrett, ex-head of counter-terrorism at MI6, believes there was little MI5 could have done to prevent the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.
“I think it is incredibly hard to stop,” he said. “When does a person who expresses radical views, who joins a radical group, flip over to be a violent extremist? To find the signals, the red flags as it were, I think is enormously hard.
“I should imagine that these two people themselves probably didn’t have any intention to commit a crime like this until relatively recently before they did it.”
Mr Barrett added: “They must have had some indication that these guys were a problem in order to note their names. But it is one thing to note their names, it is quite another thing to take invasive action to track their movements.”
Lord Blair, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said there were “thousands and thousands of people who listen to Islamic extremists”.
MI5 and MI6 must go after the most dangerous suspects who travel abroad for terrorist training, he said. “The Security Service (MI5) has limited resources. They must prioritise people who are most likely to move from being interested in violent extremism to carrying it out.
“Even if you have the resources to do it, you have to have a very high level of suspicion to put surveillance on them. “What are you monitoring? Lots of people have very odd views.”
Ministers were quick to defend MI5 from charges of failing to stop the murder of Drummer Rigby, who was pictured by CCTV cameras in his Help for Heroes sweatshirt at a takeaway near Woolwich barracks two days before the attack.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “Peers and MPs will do a thorough investigation in terms of what the security forces knew but I’ve seen experts on security explaining how difficult it is in a free society to be able to control everyone.”
There are believed to be at least 3,000 people on MI5’s database of extremist suspects. Mr Barrett said the Woolwich killers may not have had the wider links either here or abroad to warrant further attention from MI5.