WAR ON TERROR: UNIVERSITY CLAMP: DEGREES IN BIO-TERROR; EXCLUSIVE: MI5 Fear Students Learning How to Kill

The Mirror (London, England), October 22, 2001 | Go to article overview

WAR ON TERROR: UNIVERSITY CLAMP: DEGREES IN BIO-TERROR; EXCLUSIVE: MI5 Fear Students Learning How to Kill


Byline: JEFF EDWARDS Chief Crime Correspondent

THOUSANDS of students are being secretly checked by police in case terrorists are being trained at our universities, it was revealed yesterday.

MI5 believe potential plotters are already studying here to find ways to produce chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons.

Special Branch officers have been in talks with vice-principals and deans at the leading scientific and technical universities.

They have asked heads to look for signs of "unusual or suspicious" projects and programmes.

The watch has been ordered after it was found several terrorists belonging to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, studied in here.

The fears were first raised eight years ago when it emerged that one of the men who attempted to blow up the World Trade Center had been a student at a college in Wales.

And the head of Saddam Hussein's biological warfare programme in Iraq gained her degrees in London and Kent.

Security chiefs have defined nine areas where they want students and their work discreetly vetted. They are: clinical laboratory sciences, including pathology microbiology and virology; chemical engineering, biochemistry, biological science, pharmacology, toxicology, and nuclear technology.

They also want to check on all students studying microelectronics and computer sciences because such skills can be used in sophisticated bomb-making.

More than 40 universities have been contacted by police so far.

They include St Andrews, where Prince William is a student, Oxford and Cambridge.

Other universities being looked at are Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Brunel, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Cranfield, Derby, East Anglia, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Heriot-Watt, London's Imperial and Queen Mary and Westfield Colleges, Kent, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Loughborough, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton, Sheffield, Surrey, Sussex, Swansea, Salford. Staffordshire, University College London, Warwick, York, Aberdeen, Dundee, Abertay, Manchester's Institute of Science and Technology, Wales' Institute of Science and Technology and Teesside.

Detectives have even contacted the Open University to check for possible terrorists studying at home.

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WAR ON TERROR: UNIVERSITY CLAMP: DEGREES IN BIO-TERROR; EXCLUSIVE: MI5 Fear Students Learning How to Kill
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