Intelligence: MI5 and the Islamic Threat

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November 18, 2005: In Britain, MI5, the domestic intelligence agency, is trying to hire 800 more field agents, or "spies", to help keep an eye on the Islamic terrorist threat. This means hiring men and women from Moslem communities (especially Pakistanis and Arabs.) This is part of an NI5 expansion that will double the size of the agency, from 2,000 personnel, to 4,000, by 2009. Before the Islamic terrorist threat appeared, MI5 played a major role in combating terrorism by the IRA (Irish Republican Army.) The agents that infiltrated and largely demolished the IRA would not be nearly as effective infiltrating Islamic radical groups. However, these veterans of IRA operations do have field and tradecraft experience they can impart to new recruits with Pakistani and Arab backgrounds. Recruiting is not expected to be a problem, as many in the Moslem community have taken advantage of educational and employment opportunities in Britain, and feel an obligation to protect their adopted country. But, as their mentors, from the IRA operations, will tell them, it can be a wrenching experience to "take down your own," even if it is in the course of preventing horrific terror attacks. Like British Moslems, Irish Catholics have long suffered from discrimination and abuse because of their ethnicity and religion. But Britain was accommodating enough to assimilate a large portion of the Irish Catholic, and Moslem communities. It's those who were not assimilated, however, who provided a support network for the terrorists.

 


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