Published: Wed, October 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

MI5 boss Andrew Parker warns of 'intense' terror threat

MI5 boss Andrew Parker warns of 'intense' terror threat

"It's at the highest tempo I have seen in my 34-year career", Andrew Parker told reporters on Tuesday.

In his first major speech since Britain was hit by a spate of attacks this year, Mr Parker detailed the "acute and enduring" challenge posed by Islamist terrorism.

The intelligence chief said there has been a "dramatic upshift" in terrorist activity this year, which resulted in the London and Manchester attacks which killed a total of 36 people.

The MI5 chief called on technology companies to work with the government on preventing their social media platforms from being used by extremists for communications that can not be monitored. Parker also warned that internet firms were inadvertently helping terrorists conspire and they now had an ethical responsibility to help stop these worst excesses of criminal behaviour.

He said: "We've seen a dramatic up-shift in threat this year".

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"In 2017, with all that has happened and much that has not, it is clear that we are contending with an intense United Kingdom terrorist threat from Islamist extremists", Parker said during a rare public speech.

"Social media platforms don't want to host bomb-making videos and communications providers don't want to provide the means of terrorists" planning beyond the sight of MI5'.

He added: "The threat is more diverse than I've ever known".

He said: "These threats are sometimes now coming at us more quickly, whether crude but lethal attack methods - for example using a knife or a vehicle - or more sophisticated plots when in today's world terrorists can learn all that they need online to make explosives and build a bomb".

Andrew Parker, director-general of the Security Service, warned that terrorists were exploiting the accelerating pace of technology and were now able to mount deadly attacks with just a few days of planning. Many more will have been prevented by the early interventions we and the police make.

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