It is only a matter of time until terrorists hit the West once again, the former head of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) has warned. In fact, he claims the risk of terrorists attacking the West has grown substantially since last year.
Terrorists will most likely be found among young radicalised Europeans joining jihadi groups like Islamic State (IS) rather than migrants, believes Sir John Sawers according to the Daily Mail. The only ways to prevent it are by encouraging better relationships between intelligence services and Muslim communities, and by infiltrating terror organisations like IS and Al Qaeda.
Sir John, who retired after five years as MI6 chief last year, was the first to be chosen from outside the service for 41 years. During his time as a career diplomat he also worked as the UK’s ambassador to the United Nations, political director of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), special representative in Iraq and a policy adviser to then Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Prior to his FCO years he trained with MI6.
Sir John was in office to oversee security for the London 20102 Olympic Games. Interviewed on Sunday’s episode of CNN’s Global Public Square he gave a chilling assessment of the situation now, days before England and Wales host the 2015 Rugby World Cup:
“We were pretty confident that the London Olympics would be terrorism-free. And thanks to a lot of hard work, it was.
“I don’t think you could be quite so confident now if the London Olympics were in 2016, for example.”
Citing examples of the way terrorists now operate, such as January’s Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, he said IS has changed their methods: “They’re not trying to fly airliners into buildings. They’re doing simpler things.”
Unfortunately, Sir John says that by their very nature attacks of that variety are a lot harder to detect and prevent.