Calls for Far Greater Security Measures after MI5 Chief's Warning of the Scale of the Terrorist Threat
Byline: By Neville Dean, John-Paul Ford Rojas, and Alison Purdy
Ministers were being urged to bolster Britain's counter-terrorism resources last night after the head of MI5 delivered a bleak warning about the scale of the al-Qaeda threat. Dame Eliza Manningham- Buller said the terror network was mounting a 'sustained campaign' against Britain and that the threat was 'growing' and would 'be with us for a generation'. She also outlined the unprecedented nature of the threat in stark figures.
The security services were aware of around 30 plots to 'kill people and to damage our economy' and were targeting 200 cells and more than 1,600 individuals who were actively involved in plotting terrorist attacks, she said.
Prime Minister Tony Blair backed her speech, warning Britain faced a 'very long and deep struggle' against extremism. 'We need to combat the poisonous propaganda of those people that warps and perverts the minds of younger people.'
However, opposition politicians said the Government had to do more to ensure Britain's counter-terrorism agencies had sufficient resources to cope.
MI5 has almost doubled in size since the 9/11 atrocity in 2001, but shadow home secretary David Davis called on ministers to do more.
'Such as a single, dedicated border police, appointing a single minister to co-ordinate our security efforts, and allowing the use of intercept evidence in terror trials,' he said. …