Should the United Kingdom increase its security services’ powers?

Following the recent Paris attacks, the security services of many countries have called for more powers in order to constrain the terrorism threat. In the UK, Andrew Parker, the director general of MI5, one of the three British intelligence agencies together with MI6 and GHCQ, held a speech on Thursday in which he illustrated to an invited audience the increasing level of threat posed by the Islamist inspired terrorism to the UK’s national security and the corresponding drop in the agencies capabilities to stop it.

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He told the audience that the number of potentially deadly plots has gone up, saying that three terrorist plots have been stop in recent months alone. Now jihadists based in Syria are ready to target Britain and might recruit extremist and disaffected Muslims in the UK to conduct the attack. “British Islamist extremists still travel out to South Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and other theatres to try to obtain terrorist training”, he said. None of this is new, but given the timing, the speech received great attention in the media, especially for what follows.

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