New MI5 director-general Ken McCallum has confirmed that Islamist jihadists remain by far the biggest terror threat in Britain — but the mainstream media has chosen to hype his remarks on the comparatively minor threat from the far-right instead.
“Islamist extremist terrorism… by volume remains our largest threat,” the Glasgow born spy boss confirmed in his first public address since taking over Britain’s domestic intelligence agency.
“It is still the case that tens of thousands of individuals are committed to this ideology – and we must continually scan for the smaller numbers within that large group who at any given moment might be mobilising towards attacks,” he said.
“Having someone ‘on our radar’ is not the same as having them under detailed real-time scrutiny. Difficult judgements of prioritisation and risk must be made,” McCallum added — a warning which will come as little surprise to Britons familiar with learning than a given terrorist was “previously known” to the authorities, or in some cases even a convicted extremist out from prison on licence.
UK: Streatham Knifeman Named as Sudesh Amman, Was a Convicted Terrorist Released from Prison Early https://t.co/LMCFUgDq8y
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 2, 2020
Despite McCallum clear admission that Islamist terrorism remains by far the number one threat to Britain, mainstream media outlets such as the BBC and CNN chose to emphasise and often lead on his comments about the “sadly rising” — but comparatively minor — threat of “right-wing extremism” instead.
“This threat is not, today, on the same scale as Islamist extremist terrorism,” McCallum had acknowledged, although he did say it was “growing” and that “of the 27 late-stage terrorist attack plots in Great Britain disrupted by MI5 and CT Policing since 2017, 8 have been right-wing extremist.”
This was all the encouragement some news outlets needed to sideline the far more pressing and, in terms of actual attacks, far more deadly Islamist threat, with the BBC not even mentioning it in the opening paragraph of its report:
Britain is facing a “nasty mix” of national security threats, from hostile state activity by Russia and China to fast-growing right-wing terrorism, the new director-general of MI5 has said.
The publicly-funded broadcaster did acknowledge in the second paragraph of its story that “Northern Irish and Islamist extremism [are] also a concern” — but it is not until paragraph twenty that it concedes that it admits that “jihadist plots form the bulk of UK investigations”.
This is more remarkable for the fact that the Muslim population which serves as the most likely recruitment pool for jihadism is comparatively small at less than four million people.
The anti-Trump CNN network in America, similarly, led with the headline ‘30% of UK terror plots disrupted by MI5 were far right, says security chief’ — an interesting reframing of the fact that 70 per cent were not — and another opening paragraph making no mention of Islamist terrorism:
The new head of MI5, the UK’s domestic security service, has warned that nearly 30% of the major terror plots it has disrupted at a late stage since 2017 have been from far-right extremists.
Similar tactics were employed by other left-liberal outlets, such as the Independent:
Violent right-wing extremism is a ‘major threat’ in the UK, MI5 boss says https://t.co/72krzjB0uB
— The Independent (@Independent) October 15, 2020
The Guardian, perhaps surprisingly, appeared to go a different route, in its coverage of McCallum’s address, not leading on Islamist terrorism or the far right and instead emphasising “Russian and Chinese threats”.
Not mentioned by the newspaper on that score were McCallum’s comments on what Reuters called “Episodes of hack and leak” with respect to the 2016 vote on Britain’s membership of the EU, i.e. “we did not see any during the Brexit referendum.”
McCallum also confirmed, unhelpfully for anti-Brexit conspiracy theorists, that “In the case of the EU referendum, MI5 was indeed investigating at the time and with others has since investigated possible leads to individuals who potentially may have been seeking to interfere in the referendum. We did those investigations and nothing of great significance has emerged from them.”
The major news outlets did not make any mention of the threat from far-left extremists, such as Antifa and the more radical elements of the Black Lives Matter movement — but nor did McCallum.
London: BLM Supporters Mob and Seriously Assault People Suspected of Being 'Far Right' https://t.co/mUivBv8XOF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 14, 2020