Ad-hoc intergovernmental arrangements will not doby David Anderson / March 3, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: Exposing Europe’s intelligence failures
The UK is as well-equipped to fight international terrorism as any western country—which is just as well, since the level of plotting over the past 15 years suggests that it faces a more acute threat than most. And we have two particular advantages: skill at integrating intelligence derived from human and technical sources at home and abroad, and world-leading levels of co-operation between intelligence agencies and police. This country also benefits from laws that have been increasingly effective in converting intelligence into guilty pleas or jury convictions.
Of course, domestic skills in disrupting and prosecuting terrorism are not enough. The UK has been a net exporter of terrorists since the 1990s, when the presence of radical Islamists in the capital led French officials to coin the nickname “Londonistan.” But there is traffic in both directions, and unless both expenditure and obstructions to travel are vastly increased, the sea surrounding Great Britain and the invisible frontier with Ireland can only be a partial defence. Anyway, national borders count for nothing in the online world where our lives increasingly take place, and where terrorists increasingly conduct their business.
So international collaboration is central to identifying and combating threats to national security. Here too, the UK is fortunate. The Five Eyes alliance with the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is by some distance the most effective intelligence-sharing arrangement in history. Anglo-American co-operation is especially close: in this respect at least, the special relationship continues to flourish. And the period since 9/11 has seen co-operation with many other countries, though its…