British Spymaster: London Olympics Attractive Target For Al-Qaeda

Anti-terror police arrest two men in east London

British counter-terrorism police on Thursday arrested two men aged 18 and 32 in east London in an operation that was aimed partly at protecting the London Olympics, sources told NBC News.

-MSNBC.com, June 28, 2012

With Al-Qaeda still lurking and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to begin late next month, the head of Great Britain’s MI5 (Military Intelligence, Section 5- tasked with protecting the U.K. from terrorism/espionage) believes London will be a juicy target for terrorists. Ashis Ray wrote on the Times of India website yesterday:

A month before the London Olympics, head of Britain’s domestic spy agency said the games were an attractive target for terrorists and that some terror networks have thought about whether they could pull off an attack.

In a rare public speech on Monday, MI5 director-general Jonathan Evans though dispelled fears saying, “The Games are not an easy target and the fact that we have disrupted multiple terrorist plots here and abroad in recent years demonstrates that the UK as a whole is not an easy target for terrorism.”

The British spymaster talked about the threat posed by Al-Qaeda to our allies across the pond. From the article:

Scores of would-be British jihadis are travelling to Arab countries to be trained by al-Qaida. They are currently being trained in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Somalia, Evans said. Figures last year suggested more than 100 Britons were absorbed by terror groups in Somalia.

It is suspected that many are now being prepared for terrorist attacks across Yemen, Egypt and Libya. Evans also suggested there could be a steady stream of new recruits from the UK. From a British domestic perspective, Evans said, “Some will return to the UK and pose a threat here. This is a new and worrying development.” Speaking about the threat perception in Britain, he said, “In back rooms, in cars and on the streets of this country there is no shortage of individuals talking about wanting to mount terrorist attacks here.”

If Al-Qaeda launches a terror attack at the Summer Olympics, how would they carry it out? Asian News International reported on June 20:

The former Head of Department of Asymmetric Threats at the Joint Military Intelligence Division, in Athens, Greece, Ioannis Galatas has suggested that the 2012 Olympic Games may be a launching pad for potential terrorist threats, including Al Qaeda’s ‘dirty bomb’ plans, even as the successor to the late Osama bin Laden and a medical doctor himself, Al-Zawahiri, struggled to regain “face” amongst extremists opposing the West.

There have been numerous terrorist attacks since New York’s “9/11” but none quite matching its scale and impact, and perhaps this has been a matter of disruption, deterrence and, most disturbingly, patience.

However, Galatas suggested that such attacks have been thwarted by national security measures and intelligence, even as the threat of a CBRN attack, referring to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, is ever present and it might also be the wild card that the terrorist networks, and “Al Qaeda” in particular are holding back.

“It is possible that Al-Qaeda’s success with the September 11 attacks has set the bar too high for its current CBRN capabilities. Al-Qaeda may be concerned that a CBRN attack that ‘only’ kills dozens of people would be perceived as a relative failure and demonstrate its weakened position relative to its pre-9/11 stature,” Galatas said.

Galatas added that there is no indication that Al Qaeda has abandoned its pursuit of CBRN weapons, including so-called “dirty bombs”.

“The possibility of a patient Al Qaeda is a disturbing possibility worth remembering,” he said.


“How Tough Is it to Build a Dirty Bomb?”
YouTube Video

Sources:

Ray, Ashis. “Britain fears al-Qaida may target Olympics.” Times of India. 27 June 2012. (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-06-27/uk/32440844_1_al-qaida-qaida-jonathan-evans). 28 June 2012.

“London Olympics may be launching pad for ‘patient’ Qaeda’s ‘dirty bomb’ terror dreams.” Asian News International. 20 June 2012. (http://in.news.yahoo.com/london-olympics-may-launching-pad-patient-qaedas-dirty-113646870–spt.html). 28 June 2012.

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Thursday, June 28th, 2012 Europe, Terrorism, War
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