Should the "terror threat level" be public?

Should the threat level be public?

  • Yes - I dont trust Clarke or either Bliar

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No - let us provide HMG with our fullest support (until we are blown up or shot)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0
#1
I think the JTAC analysis is often driven by political expediency.

For example, the threat level was conveniently downgraded prior to the G8 summit, so Our Tone could have a Gleneagles love-in with Dubya and tens of thousands of coppers playing bodyguard. Shortly after, some nutters blew themselves (and 52 others) up in London.

Also, Charles Clarke and his ginger sidekick, to be blunt, do not have a clue. The number of complete b0ll0cks "initiatives" that were trailed in the media, including the yes-we-can/no-we-can't deportation debacle, were embarrasing and confusing.

The need for public scrutiny of our supposed "guardians" is vital.

The threat level is made public in the US.

http://www.sundayherald.com/51381

UK lowers terror threat level

By Liam McDougall, Home Affairs Editor

BRITAIN’S intelligence services have lowered the level of threat to Britain for the first time since the London suicide bomb attacks.
The official threat level has been secretly reduced from “critical”, the highest rating, to “severe general” because there is no specific information relating to imminent attacks.

The move, made by the Joint Terror Analysis Centre (JTAC), was taken on Thursday, despite a warning from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair that further attacks are “likely”.

Although the “threat” level has been lowered, the “alert” level remains at its highest rating. The level of alert determines how buildings and transport systems are guarded in the UK.

The Home Office last night would only confirm that the “level of preparedness” had not been altered.

Opposition politicians criticised the decision to downgrade the threat levels in secret. Patrick Mercer, the shadow minister for homeland security, said: “Why has this information has not been relayed to the public?

“The Metropolitan Police have been loud in their comments about their most powerful weapon against terrorism being the public . However, the public is not told when decisions relating to changes in threat levels are made.”

Last month, following the July 7 attacks which left 52 commuters dead, it emerged that just three weeks before the London bombings JTAC had concluded there was no group with the intent or capacity to attack the UK. The assessment prompted the government to lower the national threat level from “severe defined” to “substantial”.

A Home Office spokesman said that there had been “no change in our level of preparedness”.

He added: “Although there is no specific intelligence of a terrorist attack, the threat to the UK remains real and serious – as we also said before the London bombings. We cannot rule out the possibility of further attacks.”
 
#2
Generalising terrorist intelligence into some sort of ridiculous weather report for political reasons is pretty meaningless.

It can only be vague and not specific, it doesn't help the man in the street and it simply provides more ammo for the idiot media to fire back.

Nil Points.

V!
 
#3
I am puzzled why the level can be reduced because there is no information related to attacks. There are long-term threats (fuelled by the Iraq war for example) that may not generate intelligence material because the conspirators are taking precautions or waiting on an instruction.

This is not tinfoil hat paranoia about hordes of Muslims, but based on the observation that the last bombing occured at a time when there was no specific intelligence either.

Publicising the threat level (as in the US) may encourage responsible use, as the threat reduction has possibly been leaked by HMG in the first instance as a prelude to a change in the policing posture because of the unsustainability of a long-term high visibility operation - in the same way that the previous threat reduction was made public prior to the unprecedented Gleneagles policing operation. This contributes to confusion and unease, at a time when a dozen (often contradictory) initiatives are leaked to the press and we are told that we are in varying stages of safety or danger.

The Tories are correct in stating that a minister for domestic security is required, with overall oversight of such matters. The problem is that there is no-one among the usual suspects in the Labour government that would inspire trust.
 
#5
It didn't seem like that at the time!

I saw more coppers than I had ever seen physically in one place at the time, or had even thought existed. The Forth Road Bridge was brought to a virtual standstill during the conference, just on the off-chance that some soapdodgers decided to chain themselves to it and the G8 support staff would be unable to make the daily trip northwards. The off-shift were residing at my university and probably ate the place out of bacon butties.

My mate in uniform assures me that all stops were being pulled out for Tony's ego-fest and that the operation was unsustainable in the longer term.

It is inconceivable that, during the runup to and duration of G8, it was business as usual for the UK security apparatus.
 
#6
It is inconceivable that, during the runup to and duration of G8, it was business as usual for the UK security apparatus.
How? The MPS still had over thirty thousand coppers available in London during G8. It was, when all is said and done, a largely public order operation.

On July 7th people were offering to come in on their day off and told that they weren't required 'til their next shift. The buzz word is "resilience" but really it's just common sense. Was a lot of the UK security effort focussed on G8. Quite properly, yes. Was all of it? No. Not by a long chalk.

Much of the British army is focussed on TELIC. Does that mean that nothing is happening on BANNER and FINGAL? Are all the brainiacs with red tabs worrying about ops in Basra to the detriment of those in Kabul. I doubt it.

The G8 was a Scottish policing operation run by Scottish police with others on mutual aid from England and Wales. All of the other forces were concentrating, quite normally, on their own operations in their own force areas.

So every time you mention the G8 as some sort of evidence that HMG had it's eye off the ball re. terrorism elsewhere in the UK you actually undermine your argument by preferring hyperbole and speculation over reason and fact. Which is a shame, because most of your points are interesting and well-made.

V!
 
#7
MrPVRd said:
It didn't seem like that at the time!

I saw more coppers than I had ever seen physically in one place at the time, or had even thought existed. The Forth Road Bridge was brought to a virtual standstill during the conference, just on the off-chance that some soapdodgers decided to chain themselves to it and the G8 support staff would be unable to make the daily trip northwards. The off-shift were residing at my university and probably ate the place out of bacon butties.

My mate in uniform assures me that all stops were being pulled out for Tony's ego-fest and that the operation was unsustainable in the longer term.

It is inconceivable that, during the runup to and duration of G8, it was business as usual for the UK security apparatus.
If anything the Old Bill were more ready to deal with threats during the G8 as so many resources were made available, I had mate who were flown from Scotland to London in a RAF Herc to be able to get back when the 7 july bombs went pop.

There were lots of coppers who had their rest days cancelled during th G8 in case of protests in London, so when the bombs went off London was pold-tastic already.
 
#8
How can we have an intelligence-lead threat level, when there's bugger all intelligence? If a threat level is determined by anyone looking a bit dodgy, then wap it up to AMBER and leave it there. Or even better, simply invent a new threat level - like BLACK ALPHA+. What cnut thought that up? Anyhow, usage of the word 'black' might be misconstrued by some as ethnic profiling. RED-ISH with a hint of AMBER perhaps?
 
#9
I hereby resolve to stop banging on about any hypothetical link between G8 and slackened anti-terrorist procedures. I will therefore sadly relinquish my tinfoil hat with G8 penned on the front.

However, I would stress that the antiterrorism operations must be as open to parliamentary and public scrutiny because of the degree of national consensus required, particularly if there is ever the need to suspend some aspects of civil liberties.

10 years or so this consensus could perhaps have been taken for granted, but in light of the Iraq controversy and the revelations from Hutton onwards this is no longer the case. I believe that information would (and probably is) being suppressed to play down any Iraq-domestic terrorism link and to spare the blushes of the Dear Leader whenever he deigns to appear in front of the cameras (or, more rarely, in Parliament). .
 

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