Per la prima volta in due anni il direttore del Security Service britannico ha tenuto un discorso pubblico, in occasione della Lord Major’s Annual Defence and Security Lecture (qui il testo).
Ovviamente un passaggio chiave riguarda la minaccia terroristica e l’evoluzione del network qaedista dall’uccisione di Bin Laden ad oggi.
[…] there is a perception in some quarters that the terrorist threat to this country has evaporated. Bin Laden is dead, Al Qaida’s senior leadership in Pakistan is under serious pressure and there hasn’t been a major attack here for seven years. That is all true. But we need to look more closely at what has actually been going on.[…]
The Royal United Services Institute, the award-winning defence and security think-tank, maintains a database of terrorist events. It has identified 43 potential plots or serious incidents in the UK since 9/11. Our assessment is that Britain has experienced a credible terrorist attack plot about once a year since 9/11 – and before, since the first Al Qaida inspired plot here took place in 2000 – a year before 9/11. That pattern has held true up to the present time, including in 2010 and 2011. And in May of this year a plot by Al Qaida in Yemen to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic was narrowly averted. So the threat is real and remains with us today.[…]
But we do see a changing shape of the threat internationally.
Whereas a few years ago 75% of the priority casework addressed by my Service had some sort of Pakistan and/or Afghanistan dimension, thanks to our efforts and those of our international partners that figure has reduced and now stands at less than 50%. We appear to be moving from a period of a deep and focussed threat to one where the threat is less monolithic but wider. Al Qaida affiliates in Yemen, Somalia and the Sahel have become more dangerous as Al Qaida in Pakistan has declined and we see increasing levels of cooperation between Al Qaida groups in various parts of the world. As the Foreign Secretary recently noted, Al Qaida is active in Syria. Repeated attempts by Al Qaida in Yemen to mount attacks on aircraft – as we have seen in the underpants bombs and the bomb found in a printer cartridge at East Midlands airport – could have caused mass civilian casualties to us and our allies. Some supporters of the Al Qaida-aligned Al Shabaab militia in Somalia are seeking to work with Al Qaida in Yemen and there are links across to Mali and down to West Africa where the UK has political, economic and demographic ties.[…]
But a more immediate problem has emerged. Today parts of the Arab world have once more become a permissive environment for Al Qaida. This is the completion of a cycle – Al Qaida first moved to Afghanistan in the 1990s due to pressure in their Arab countries of origin. They moved on to Pakistan after the fall of the Taleban. And now some are heading home to the Arab world again. And a small number of British would be jihadis are also making their way to Arab countries to seek training and opportunities for militant activity, as they do in Somalia and Yemen. Some will return to the UK and pose a threat here. This is a new and worrying development and could get worse as events unfold. So we will have to manage the short term risks if there is to be a longer-term reward from the Arab Spring.[…]
La parte sulla cyber-security la lascio al nostro Jack…