The Thirty Year War
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, Director General of MI5, the British internal security service, gave a talk about terrorism to a group of East London academics called the Mile End Group:
“The threat is serious, growing and will, I believe, be with us for a generation. ... Today we see the use of home-made improvised explosive devices. Tomorrow’s threat may — and I suggest WILL — include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology. ... My officers and the police are working to contend with some 200 groupings or networks, totalling over 1,600 identified individuals who are actively engaged in plotting or facilitating terrorist acts here and overseas. And there will be many we don’t know, too. ... More and more people are moving from passive sympathy towards active terrorism through being radicalised or indoctrinated by friends, families, in organised training events here and overseas, by images on TV, through internet chatrooms and websites. ... Chillingly, we see the results — young teenagers groomed to be suicide bombers. ... We are aware of numerous plots to kill people and damage our economy. What do I mean by numerous? Five? Ten? No, nearer 30 . . . that we know of. ... Killing oneself and others is an attractive option for some citizens. ... It is the youth who are being actively targeted, groomed, radicalised and set on a path that frighteningly quickly could end in their involvement in mass murder of their fellow UK citizens — or their early death in a suicide attack or on a foreign battlefield. ... We are faced by difficult choices. We cannot focus on everything so we have to decide where to focus our energies, whom to follow, whose telephone lines need listening to. ... We shan’t always make the right choices. And we recognise we shall have scarce sympathy if we are unable to prevent one of our targets committing an atrocity. ... Chancellor Gordon Brown has poured in enough cash for MI5 to double in size over seven years. Even with such rapid growth we shall not be in a position to investigate nearly enough of the problem.”
The 2800 officers of MI5 have stopped six attacks by Islamic terrorists in the last six years but their caseload has ballooned by 80% since January. They are concentrating their investigations on the most dire threats while putting two hundred terror plots on the back burner.
Dame Manningham-Buller forecasts a thirty year campaign of Islamic terror against Britain: "It aims to wear down our will to resist. All of us, whatever our ethnicity and faith, are the targets of terrorists."