And MI5 would have to be the size of the Stasi to stop them all. “Al-Qaeda’s “˜best assets” prime UK timebomb,” by Sean Rayment in the Sunday Telegraph, with thanks to Looney Tunes:
British Muslims volunteering to fight against coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are being sent back to Britain to become al-Qaeda “sleeper” agents, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.
MI5 agents believe that young Asian men, who have been trained to take part in the so-called “global jihad” in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, are now regarded as too valuable an asset to be used fighting British and American troops.
MI5 and MI6 are working on the assumption that they are being ordered to return to their communities in Britain with instructions to establish secret, autonomous cells and to conduct independent terrorists operations without any direct input from al-Qaeda’s high command.
Security sources claim that al-Qaeda is unlikely to send a British passport holder to his death as a suicide bomber in Iraq when he would be far more valuable as a “sleeper” in Britain.
MI5 fears that it is impossible to estimate how many British Muslims have attended training camps over the past decade or how many are back in the UK planning attacks.
Hundreds of thousands of people travel from Britain to Pakistan every year, mostly to visit relatives or do business. The challenge facing the intelligence services, say security sources, is to discover which among them are travelling for “nefarious” reasons….
Security sources have also warned of the danger facing Britain from radicalised Muslims who are currently fighting as part of the insurgency in Iraq.
MI5 assumes that a “backwash” of violence may be unleashed in the UK by British-born Muslims who have been involved the fighting in Iraq….
Andrew Rowe, a Jamaican convert to Islam who is known to have visited Bosnia in the 1990s, is often cited as an example of a militant Muslim who fought a jihad abroad and returned to Britain to conduct a campaign of terrorism.
Rowe, a drug dealer before his conversion to Islam, became known as the “sock bomber” after he was arrested for carrying socks with traces of high explosives, which police believe had come from mortars. He was jailed for 15 years for possessing material which might be of use to terrorists.
It emerged earlier this month that Dhiren Barot, a Muslim convert who was jailed for 40 years for plotting to kill thousands of people in Britain and America, had attended a training camp in Pakistan and was subsequently recruited as a sleeper agent by al-Qaeda. Whitehall sources said he typified the threat now facing Britain.
At least two of the bombers involved in the attacks on London on July 7 last year are also known to have visited terrorist training camps in Pakistan.
Last week Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, gave warning that it was just a matter of time before Britain was attacked with a chemical, biological or radiological weapon.
She said that up to 1,600 terrorists in the UK were involved in 30 “priority one” plots. Whitehall sources have admitted that it was impossible for MI5, given its current level of resources “” it has 2,800 staff “” to disrupt every terrorist plot being hatched against Britain.
The source said: “MI5 would have to be the size of the Stasi (the 100,000-strong East German secret state police during the Cold War) to have a chance of stopping every possible attack and, even then, it would be unlikely that it would succeed.”