Un paio di giorni fa il Direttore dell'Mi5, Jonathan Evans, è intervenuto alla Whorshipful Company of Security Professionals di Londra parlando delle minacce spionistiche e terroristiche alla Gran Bretagna (qui la trascrizione del discorso). Riguardo queste ultime Evans ha detto di essere molto preoccupato in particolare per gli estremisti provenienti dalla Somalia.
Qui di seguito alcuni passaggi del suo intervento.
"The percentage of the priority plots and leads we see in the UK linked to Al Qaida in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where Al Qaida senior leadership is still based, has dropped from around 75% two or three years ago to around 50% now. This does not mean that the overall threat has reduced but that it has diversified. The reduction in cases linked to the Tribal areas of Pakistan is partly attributable to the pressure exerted on the Al Qaida leadership there. But the reduction is also partly a result of increased activity elsewhere. In Somalia, for example, there are a significant number of UK residents training in Al Shabaab camps to fight in the insurgency there. Al Shabaab, an Islamist militia in Somalia, is closely aligned with Al Qaida and Somalia shows many of the characteristics that made Afghanistan so dangerous as a seedbed for terrorism in the period before the fall of the Taleban. (…) I am concerned that it is only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by those who are today fighting alongside Al Shabaab.
The other area of increased concern in respect of the domestic threat to the UK is Yemen. The AQ affiliate based in Yemen, known as "Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula" is the group that among other things developed the concealable non-metallic underpants bomb used in both the attempt to murder the Saudi Security Minister His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed Bin Naif in 2009 and in the narrowly averted Christmas 2009 aircraft bombing over Detroit by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The operational involvement of Yemen based preacher Anwar Al Awlaqi with AQAP is of particular concern given his wide circle of adherents in the West, including in the UK. His influence is all the wider because he preaches and teaches in the English language which makes his message easier to access and understand for Western audiences. We saw his hand in the Abdulmutallab case. There is a real risk that one of his adherents will respond to his urging to violence and mount an attack in the UK, possibly acting alone and with little formal training, and we have seen a surge in Yemen related casework this year. The outcome of some of these investigations has been reported in the media.
In terms of the trajectory of the threat it is worth also drawing attention to some other relevant factors. First, our experience over the last ten years has shown that networks of terrorist supporters can be extraordinarily determined, resilient and patient. We see groups that have been disrupted and where several members have been convicted of terrorist or other offences, but that are able to revive and resume terrorist-related activities within a relatively short period of time and sometimes under other leadership. And of course they learn each time from the mistakes that they or others have made.
Second, it is now nine years after 9/11. The upsurge of terrorist support activity in the years immediately following it is long enough ago for individuals who were successfully investigated and convicted of criminal offences during that period now to be coming out of prison having served their terms with remission. Unfortunately we know that some of those prisoners are still committed extremists who are likely to return to their terrorist activities and they will be added to the cases needing to be monitored in coming years. "