UK’s MI5 achieving a 64% islamic extremist terror attack foil rate

In last 6 months in UK alone: 4 Islamic extremist terror attacks got through against 7 stopped. The UK’s well-resourced MI5 is following >3000 extremists and is only succeeding in stopping 64% of planned attacks.

Would or should they be satisfied with their performance?

The UK’s intelligence services are facing an “intense” challenge from terrorism, the head of MI5 has warned.

Andrew Parker said there was currently “more terrorist activity coming at us, more quickly” and that it can also be “harder to detect“.

The UK has suffered five terror attacks this year, and he said MI5 staff had been “deeply affected” by them.

He added that more than 130 Britons who travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with so-called Islamic State had died.

MI5 was running 500 live operations involving 3,000 individuals involved in extremist activity in some way, he said.

Speaking in London, Mr Parker said the tempo of counter-terrorism operations was the highest he had seen in his 34-year career at MI5.

Twenty attacks had been foiled in the last four years, including seven in the last seven months, he said – all related to what he called Islamist extremism.

Further details are alarming, especially when you consider how well resourced the Poms are when it comes to terrorism:

Mr Parker was asked what was the point of MI5 surveillance when someone who had made “no secret of his affiliations with jihadist extremism” had then been allowed to go on to launch a deadly attack.

He said the risk from each individual was assessed on a “daily and weekly basis” and then prioritised “accordingly”.

“One of the main challenges we’ve got is that we only ever have fragments of information, and we have to try to assemble a picture of what might happen, based on those fragments.”

He said the likelihood was that when an attacked happened, it would be carried out by someone “that we know or have known” – otherwise it would mean they had been looking “in completely the wrong place”.

And he said staff at MI5 were deeply affected on a “personal and professional” level when they did happen.

“They are constantly making tough professional judgements based on fragments of intelligence; pinpricks of light against a dark and shifting canvas.”


“We have to be careful that we do not find ourselves held to some kind of perfect standard of 100%, because that is not achievable,” he said.

“Attacks can sometimes accelerate from inception through planning to action in just a handful of days.

“This pace, together with the way extremists can exploit safe spaces online, can make threats harder to detect and give us a smaller window to intervene.”

How is this relevant to NZ?

The above results, while commendable and while acknowledging the skills and resources of MI5, are disturbing and frightening.

How can any politician or the public accept a 64% pass rate in foiling murderous terror plots by islamist extremists in a western democracy?


  1. What is NZ doing to ensure the integrity of our national security and secure NZ against an Islamic terrorist attack?
  2. Are NZ’s agencies (Police, SIS, GCSB etc) sufficiently resourced? Do they need 2x or 5x current budget to achieve a better-than-MI5 success rate when Islamic Extremists decide to get active in NZ?
  3. Are they getting the world’s best training? Are we in NZ as good as MI5? What would our pass rate be? Have NZ agencies foiled actual murderous Islamic terror plots in NZ?
  4. Are there countries with whom our agencies should be training and working and from whom we can learn (ie. which countries have experience in this space? Who has the best success in this space? )
  5. Which coalition grouping would best ensure NZ’s national security?



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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