Terror Outlook 2006: Lloyds

The outlook from British terrorism and risk analysis expert Simon Sole:

Intelligence services are being stretched to capacity and significant intelligence reform is unlikely" [Elsewhere Sole has argued Italy's fractured and inexperienced intel leaves it open to attack, partly because it is so dependent upon the FBI and CIA, and partly due to infiltration of law enforcement by organized crime. Its subordinate posture to the CIA led it after 9/11 to spend 4 years chasing a Saddam Hussein-related group.

I might also note that reliance on the FBI and CIA is of concern for other reasons, notable the former's infamous backlog in translating terrorist chatter. See Daniel Drezner , Paul Sperry's Infiltration, and Sept. 2004's Backlog of terror tapes dogs FBI. Excerpt: "In some cases, potentially crucial surveillance material is being automatically deleted before it can be reviewed, the audit found."

As CBS reported, the audit also found that "than one-third of al Qaeda intercepts authorized by a secret federal court were not reviewed with 12 hours of collection as required by FBI Director Robert Mueller." Then in July 2005 came the report the backlog had more than doubled to over 700,000 hours of untranslated intercepts.]

Back to Italy: Sole notes last year Italian courts dismissed charges against 5 terrorists due to legal ambiguities in distinguishing between ‘guerrillas’ and terrorists. ]

London market insurers have been told that the long term outlook is negative, with attacks likely to diversify away from the transport network to places of public entertainment and other major cities, such as Manchester and Birmingham in the UK. [see below for contradiction ]

Exclusive Analysis also believes America will be at risk from another Sunni extremist attack but adds the incident will be small as al-Qaeda has been disrupted and new groups are less capable. “The ability of a group in the US to stage an attack is constrained by stringent counter-terror measures at the expense of civil liberties,” says Sole. ..

New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC are seen as the cities most consistently threatened with subway systems, synagogues and US government sites the highest risk targets.

In Western Europe, Sole says the company believes those countries most at risk of an attack from Sunni extremists are the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and France. Those at risk, but to a lesser degree, include Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Norway.

The aviation and transport sectors in Spain, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are seen as the most likely terrorist targets, while large public gatherings such as theatres, events and shops have received fewer threats but are also vulnerable. US military bases in Germany are also seen to be at risk. [The threat vs. airports in Netherlands and Italy was covered by Bodansky in his Great Ramadan Offensive report.]"

Read rest of report at Lloyds.

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