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Wed. August 10, 2022
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IA-Forum asks: "The head of the U.K.'s domestic security service MI5 announced at the beginning of January that the threat of an immediate terrorist attack on Britain had receded. In the light of these claims how effective do you think the U.K.'s approach to tackling the terrorist threat has been?"

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Lord Carlile of Berriew

Response: At the beginning of January 2009 the Director General of MI5, Jonathan Evans, made some significant statements. Whilst the risk of an immediate terrorism attack had receded, the threat and risk of terrorist attack had not. There remain several hundred known terrorism suspects, and inevitably others as yet unknown.

I share Mr Evans’s view, and add that the reason for the reduced immediate threat... more

Shamit Saggar, University of Sussex

Response: For a serving MI5 chief to say that, in effective, there is a less of an immediate risk of terrorists successfully striking is no small thing. For starters, this kind of assertion would rarely been broadcast so openly in the past, not least because it may simply serve to incentivise current terrorist conspirators.

There are three significant implications of this claim that stand out. First, ... more

Kate Allen, Amnesty International U.K.

Response: Since the attacks of 2001, much of the international focus on counter terrorism has been on the policies pursued by the US and its infamous ‘war on terror’. Other states, including the UK, have played a critical role in these policies. This has included complicity in policies such as rendition, secret detention and interrogation.

However, one of the most shocking UK policies has been its effor... more

Steve Hewitt, University of Birmingham

Response: Any pronouncement about terrorism from the head of MI5 should be greeted with a great deal of skepticism for the simple reason that there are no means of independent verification. Indeed, the media has been all too quick to report without question the statistics offered on a now annual basis on the number of terrorists, terrorist groups, and terrorist plots being monitored by the UK authorities. I... more

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