MI5 chief warns that adolescents as young as 13 are at risk of terrorism.
The threat of right-wing terrorism is “here to stay,” according to the head of MI5, with children as young as 13 fantasizing about executing crimes.
Director-general Ken McCallum warned that young people enamored with weaponry are sharing awful hate messages and desires to attack others. Right-wing terrorism, he added, had “developed and evolved very dramatically over the last five to ten years” and is “unfortunately here to stay.” Ten of the 29 late-stage terrorist schemes foiled in the last four years were extreme right-wing.
Teenagers are being drawn into a “cult-like phenomenon,” according to Mr McCallum, with some joining as “rebellion as they make their way in the world.” He stated Wednesday that the danger had “several difficult qualities,” including “often, obsessive interest in armament.”
“And, of course, there’s the online environment, with hundreds exchanging hate-filled speech or claiming violent intentions to impress one another in extreme echo chambers,” he continued.
Mr McCallum confessed that investigators uncovered a 13-year-old radical who was gaining a lot of attention online.
“It’s possible that many of the youngsters are swept up in this toxic ideology for a period of time, but do not follow through to pose a serious threat,” he said.
“The youngest person we’ve found throughout our investigations was 13 years old. I wish we didn’t have to do these types of investigations. But, unfortunately, we must deal with the world as it is, rather than as we wish it to be.”
Mr. McCallum announced that the security services will treble the amount of resources deployed to combat the threat posed by Russia, China, and Iran.
Terrorists “would want to take advantage” of opportunities to rebuild as Nato soldiers leave Afghanistan, he warned.
He called Islamist extremist terrorism MI5’s “biggest operational mission” and a “potent, shape-shifting threat,” adding that Syria is still the “overseas location with the greatest influence on the UK threat.”