The MI5 chief, Andrew Parker is warning the UK is facing an increased threat from terrorists.
MI5 is the British Security Service, the equivalent of the CIA in England, and its new boss has some sobering words regarding the threats the country faces on a daily basis.
Parker was elected to the post in April and these are his first remarks since taking office during a private audience at the Royal United Services Institute.
The chief says Britain will face at least one major terror threat every year for the next few years.
“Since 2000, we have seen serious attempts at major acts of terrorism in this country typically once or twice a year. That feels to me, for the moment, unlikely to change.”
Parker says one of the reasons for this is the increasing number of British citizens traveling to Syria to join the jihad.
The MI5 chief added that a large portion of the casework load the security service deals with on a daily basis has a link to Syria, concerning individuals who have traveled to the country to fight there or who hope to do so.
“Al Nusrah and other extremist Sunni groups there aligned with al Qaeda aspire to attack Western countries.” Parker said.
Just as his predecessor, Jonathan Evans did, Parker warns, “It remains the case that there are several thousand Islamist extremists here who see the British people as a legitimate target.”
The MI5 chief referred to former CIA analyst Edward Snowden and how his leaked revelations hurt surveillance of spy agencies in Britain.
Some have said Snowden’s leaks mount to virtually giving terrorists an “instruction booklet on how to evade surveillance”.
Without mentioning The Guardian, the British newspaper which Snowden used to publish his leaks, the MI5 chief said, “Such information hands the advantage to the terrorists. It is the gift they need to evade us and strike at will.”