Terror groups may be taking advantage of the migrant crisis to place terrorists in Europe from Libya, an expert has warned.
Austria’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (BVT) and Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, both domestic security agencies, have denied there is any reliable evidence that Islamic State or other terror groups are placing terrorists in Europe hidden among innocent migrants. However, writing for Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, security adviser Dr Gert R. Polli has described that assessment as “anything but reassuring”.
Dr Polli warns of the opposite, saying the complacent attitude of the official agencies “shows in particular how unprepared and helpless European security agencies and intelligence services are facing this phenomenon.”
After 25 years as an officer in the Austrian Armed Forces, much of it in Foreign Intelligence, Dr Polli was from 2002 to 2008 the head of the BVT. He therefore comments from a position of knowledgeable experience.
Dr Polli identified a secret document, seen by both Austrian and German authorities, which describes the risk of “inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts among migrants”.
Previously Islamists radicalised domestically have been, to some extent, identifiable. Even the hundreds of jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq were mostly known and risk assessed, but, Dr Polli warns, this has changed radically. He explains that with the “uncontrolled wave of refugees” previous methods of investigation now fall short as authorities “simply do not know who comes into the country”, and with many migrants not even being registered properly nor can their backgrounds and networks be assessed.
Dr Polli advocates setting up well-regulated camps outside the external borders of the European Union (EU). Migrants can then register, be assessed and, if appropriate, be allowed into the EU in an orderly manner.
Some assessments have been carried out, but only in specific cases of suspicion and even then Dr Polli says the “scant information” provided is “hardly verifiable.” Civil war and conflict in Syria and Iraq means that cooperation that did once exist between security services has now been reduced to “a minimum”, and IS strategy is to exploit that situation.
Authorities are reduced to relying on information from the migrants themselves, which is “sparsely” provided. As Breitbart London previously reported, some vulnerable migrants in Germany are even radicalised after entering the EU, having been befriended by the Salafists of fundamentalist Sunni Islam.
Dr Polli also points out that Frontex, the European Border Agency, takes very seriously IS announcements of the intention to send sleeper fighters into Europe as refugees. Syrian IS-combatants and Turkish authorities have both spoken of several thousand sleepers in the EU awaiting orders. Norwegian security services, by way of one example, earlier this year prevented between five and ten terror sleepers arriving as part of a refugee quota after having been screened out in the Middle East.
The smuggling route for migrants from Libya is also discussed as a potential conduit for terrorists. Dr Polli shares the assessment of the French defence minister, reported by Breitbart London in July, that IS operatives’ control of Libya’s ports and the trade in human trafficking poses a very high security risk.
At the same time, new sources of migrants are emerging. Dr Polli explains that living conditions in Iraq and Syria have deteriorated because of corruption in government and defeat at the hands of IS. This prompts desertion from the ranks of Iraqi armed forces and Shiite militias with those former fighters then aiming for the EU at the same time as their opponents in IS.
Dr Polli concludes that the security situation in Europe was rarely as strained as it now is, with security services blaming governments opening borders without adequate controls in place. He warns that with the mix of IS sympathisers, the al Nusra Front, Shiite militias and deserting Iraqi and Syrian soldiers overwhelming European authorities, security services now “assume that terrorist activities on German or Austrian territory could soon become a reality.”