MI5 chief Andrew Parker described the Charlie Hebdo massacre as ‘a terrible reminder of the intentions of those who wish us harm’ – and went on to talk about the need to increase MI5’s capabilities to snoop on communications – otherwise Britain could be faced with a similar attack with little MI5 could do to help.
At a press conference at MI5 headquarters Andrew Parker said an attack on the UK was “highly likely” and MI5 could do little to stop it with their current limited capabilities
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The Guardian reports:
The head of MI5, Andrew Parker, has called for new powers to help fight Islamist extremism, warning of a dangerous imbalance between increasing numbers of terrorist plots against the UK and a drop in the capabilities of intelligence services to snoop on communications.
Speaking to an invited audience at MI5 headquarters, he said the threat level to Britain had worsened and Islamist extremist groups in Syria and Iraq were directly trying to orchestrate attacks on the UK. An attack on the UK was “highly likely” and MI5 could not give a guarantee it would be able to stop it, he said.
About 50% of MI5’s work is now devoted to counter-terrorism. Parker said: “My sharpest concern as director general of MI5 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capabilities to address it.”
“If we are to do our job, MI5 will continue to need to be able to penetrate their communications as we have always done. That means having the right tools, legal powers and the assistance of companies which hold relevant data. Currently, this picture is patchy.”