Britain raises terror threat level to "severe"
2010 01 23

By Adrian Croft | Reuters.com


"Britain raised its terrorism threat level to 'severe' -- the second highest level -- on Friday, days before London hosts major international meetings on how to deal with militancy in Afghanistan and Yemen."

The decision to raise the level from 'substantial' means security services now consider an attack in Britain, a key U.S. ally, to be "highly likely" but the government said it had no information to suggest an attack was imminent.

Britain gave no reason for the move by its Joint Terrorism Analysis Center (JTAC) which comes as Britain and other countries step up precautions in the wake of the failed Christmas Day attack on an airliner in Detroit.

Raising the threat level is expected to lead to tighter security at airports and public buildings.

"JTAC keeps the threat level under constant review and makes its judgments based on a broad range of factors, including the intent and capabilities of international terrorist groups in the UK and overseas," Home Secretary (interior minister) Alan Johnson said in a statement.

"The fact that we've moved to another threat level means we put more resources in, we heighten the state of vigilance. It shouldn't be thought to be linked to Detroit or anywhere else for that matter," he told the BBC.

Security expert Anthony Glees said his guess was that the decision to raise the threat level was linked to the Afghanistan conference and to intelligence from the United States.

"I think it's very probable that people, either members of al Qaeda or associated to al Qaeda, will be figuring that it would be a huge trophy attack in some way to damage the holding of the Afghanistan conference," he told the BBC.

The threat level was last changed on July 20, 2009 when it was lowered to substantial from severe. It had been lowered to severe on July 4, 2007 from critical, the highest level, which had been declared a few days earlier following attempted car bombings in London and Glasgow.

Suicide bombings in July 2005 killed 52 people on London's transport networks and a number of plots have been thwarted since then.

MAJOR CONFERENCE

Britain hosts an international conference on Afghanistan on Thursday that London says may set a timetable for transferring responsibility for some areas to Afghan control.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and foreign ministers from 50 countries are expected to take part.

Talks on Afghanistan will be preceded by a January 27 meeting on Yemen, which declared war on al Qaeda last week under pressure for a crackdown on the global militant group after its Yemen-based wing said it was behind an attempt on December 25 to blow up a U.S. passenger jet.

The Nigerian suspect in the Detroit airliner plot, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, studied a few years ago in London, raising concern about whether he was radicalized in Britain.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown told parliament this week Britain was suspending direct flights to Britain by a Yemeni airline and was stepping up immigration checks in the wake of the failed Detroit attack.

"We know that a number of terrorist cells are actively trying to attack Britain and other countries," Brown said.

Sajjan Gohel of the Asia Pacific Foundation thinktank said one factor that affected threat level changes was security agencies' monitoring of electronic "chatter" among militants.

"It may be that Britain is being mentioned more often or it may be the volume of potentially threatening messages being collected that provides a sense of heightened threat," he said.

U.S. Homeland Security Department spokesman Matt Chandler said Britain was raising its measures to effectively where the United States was.

"We have enhanced our security measures and communicated specific information to industry, law enforcement and the American people," he said.

Article from: Reuters.com

There are five levels of threat:

* Critical - an attack is expected imminently

* Severe - an attack is highly likely

* Substantial - an attack is a strong possibility

* Moderate - an attack is possible but not likely

* Low - an attack is unlikely





Related Articles
Britain's threat level history


Latest News from our Front Page

Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
2014 11 21
Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
New UK spy chief says tech giants aid terrorism, privacy not ‘absolute right’
2014 11 21
Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ The new head of Britain’s GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA in the U.S., said he believes privacy is not an absolute right and that tech giants must open themselves up to intelligence agencies. “GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age,” Hannigan said. “But privacy ...
LOL: Atheist Feminist Pornographer Used as Moral Authority in T-shirt Row
2014 11 21
Dr. Matt Taylor was thrust into the headlines this last week, largely for his lead role in successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet 300 million miles from earth that travels at a speed of 85,000 mph. In short, Taylor and his colleagues pulled off one of the most amazing achievements in contemporary science and space exploration, and in a ...
Forty Years that Unmade France
2014 11 21
Eric Zemmour is a well-known French author and television personality. Of Algerian-Jewish origin, he may seem an unlikely spokesman for French tradition, but he has emerged in recent years as a prominent scourge of ideological orthodoxy. He is unquestionably the most prominent mainstream French commentator who speaks candidly about race. Eric Zemmour This role comes with a price. In 2011 he was ...
Richard Spencer Under Fire
2014 11 21
The Flathead Beacon has a story on the mobbing of Richard Spencer consequent to the publicity over the Budapest conference. The city council is being asked to “an ordinance barring hate-group activities in the community.” As several of the comments note, the First Amendment seems to be of no concern to these activists. The article is interesting ...
More News »