And no doubt they will be choosing Western converts to try to do the infiltrating. I wonder if, during that six- to eight-month vetting process, MI5 officials discuss jihad with Muslim applicants. From the BBC, with thanks to all who sent this in:
Al-Qaeda sympathisers have been trying to infiltrate the British security service MI5, the BBC has learned.
Whitehall officials confirmed what some had long suspected, says BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner.
But those with al-Qaeda sympathies had been weeded out during a six- to eight- month vetting process, officials added.
Meanwhile anti-terrorism police probing the 7 July London bombings say people who knew the attacks were being planned would face prosecution.
Officers at a Scotland Yard briefing said they continued to be very concerned by the intelligence picture, with 70 investigations continuing and some of the information received described as “very sinister”.
The head of the Metropolitan Police’s anti-terrorist branch, Peter Clarke, said 60 people were awaiting trial in the UK for terrorist-related offences.
But he warned: “This is unprecedented, and the flow of new cases shows no sign of abating – if anything it is accelerating.”
MI5 believes, from polls, that around 400,000 people in the UK are “sympathetic to violent jihad around the world”, said Frank Gardner.
Within that number 1,200 people have been identified as being activists the security service believe are engaged in acts of terrorism at home and abroad, he said….
Our correspondent says that as investigations continue, MI5 is expanding from its current level of 2,600 officers to an eventual 3,500, to cope with the terrorist threat.
It is also setting up eight new regional offices to build up a “richer picture” of what people are thinking and doing on the ground, he added.
The security service now publicly advertises for staff as part of a major expansion plan to combat terrorism, ending decades of secrecy.
Tens of thousands apply to join MI5 each year, with 400 making it through to final selection.
Applicants are first assessed by an outside agency, then those shortlisted invited to MI5’s London headquarters, where their backgrounds and sympathies are intensively investigated for six to eight months….
He added that the profile of the terror suspect was changing, including “many” British people willing to mount attacks on fellow citizens.