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Revealed: Islamist extremists have penetrated the heart of Britain

by Ste­pe­hen Wright


Islamist extrem­ists have infil­trat­ed Gov­ern­ment and key pub­lic util­i­ties to pass sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion to ter­ror­ists, the secu­ri­ty ser­vices have warned.

Counter-ter­ror­ism offi­cials say “insid­ers” or their asso­ciates are almost cer­tain­ly work­ing “unde­tect­ed” in sen­si­tive posts and are active­ly sup­port­ing the activ­i­ties of extrem­ists.

In some cas­es, life­long rela­tion­ships between friends or rel­a­tives are being exploit­ed to obtain cru­cial infor­ma­tion from those in sen­si­tive posts.

The devel­op­ment is detailed in intel­li­gence reports cir­cu­lat­ed to the Home Office, police and White­hall offi­cials.

The Lon­don Under­ground, Gatwick air­port and BT are cit­ed as exam­ples of organ­i­sa­tions which have been tar­get­ed by indi­vid­u­als linked to ter­ror­ists.

Offi­cials say the idea of “pen­e­trat­ing the ene­my is per­va­sive” for Islamist extrem­ists.

It is under­stood a num­ber of sus­pect­ed jihadists work­ing in Gov­ern­ment depart­ments and the pub­lic ser­vices are being mon­i­tored by the secu­ri­ty ser­vices.

Details of the threat emerged months after the Dai­ly Mail revealed fears that Scot­land Yard has been infil­trat­ed by indi­vid­u­als linked to extrem­ist groups includ­ing Al Qae­da.

Sev­er­al police offi­cers and civil­ian staff are being mon­i­tored amid claims they are long-term sleep­ers try­ing to gain sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion of use to ter­ror­ists.

Some are even believed to have attend­ed ter­ror train­ing camps in Pak­istan or Afghanistan.

Fanat­ics who infil­trate the Gov­ern­ment or the “Crit­i­cal Nation­al Infra­struc­ture” — vital util­i­ties such as water, elec­tric­i­ty, trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tions — have a num­ber of objec­tives.

These include try­ing to gain infor­ma­tion on what the law enforce­ment agen­cies know about the activ­i­ties of fel­low Islamist extrem­ists and how to evade the atten­tion of police and the secu­ri­ty ser­vices.

They may also try to obtain infor­ma­tion or intel­li­gence to help them to car­ry out acts of ter­ror­ism.

This involves get­ting access to premis­es or indi­vid­u­als “with the imme­di­ate pur­pose” of mount­ing an attack or obtain­ing sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion to facil­i­tate a lat­er atroc­i­ty.

The extrem­ists might also seek infor­ma­tion which is of “indi­rect use” to the plan­ning of a ter­ror­ist attack — such as get­ting access to bank­ing infor­ma­tion to raise mon­ey through fraud, gain­ing insid­er knowl­edge about air­port secu­ri­ty and sur­veil­lance mea­sures on the Lon­don Under­ground.

Secu­ri­ty sources say there is evi­dence that UK-based ter­ror­ists have dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of attack­ing nation­al infra­struc­ture tar­gets with the help of a “sym­pa­thet­ic insid­er”.

MI5 has warned in the past that sus­pects with “strong links” to Osama bin Laden have tried to join the British secu­ri­ty ser­vices and, in Jan­u­ary last year, exiled rad­i­cal Omar Bakri claimed that Islamist extrem­ists were infil­trat­ing the police and oth­er pub­lic sec­tor organ­i­sa­tions.

Col­lege teach­ers must be “vig­i­lant” in tack­ling the threat posed by vio­lent extrem­ists who attempt to recruit teenage stu­dents to ter­ror­ism, min­is­ters said yes­ter­day.

Al Qae­da sup­port­ers seek to “groom” impres­sion­able young peo­ple and staff should be pre­pared to tell the police if they have con­cerns, draft Gov­ern­ment guid­ance said.

The guid­ance, pub­lished for con­sul­ta­tion, is aimed at col­leges teach­ing stu­dents aged 14 and over, includ­ing more than 700,000 aged 16 to 18, and fol­lows sim­i­lar guide­lines for uni­ver­si­ties.

The ter­ror­ist traf­fic war­den

A ter­ror­ist jailed for his involve­ment in a bomb attack on the Paris Metro lat­er came to Eng­land and got a job as a traf­fic war­den.

Mustapha Boutar­fa, 32, was arrest­ed by Scot­land Yard’s anti-ter­ror­ist squad in 1996 and extra­dit­ed from Britain to France two years lat­er.

He stood tri­al for his aux­il­iary role in the 1995 attack on the St Michel sta­tion by a noto­ri­ous Islamist mil­i­tant group, in which eight were killed and 80 wound­ed, and was giv­en a two-year prison sen­tence.

But after his release, Boutar­fa, who held dual French and Alger­ian nation­al­i­ty, man­aged to get back into the UK with his wife and chil­dren and secured the job as a park­ing atten­dant in Rich­mond-upon-Thames, Sur­rey, with NCP Ser­vices.

Boutar­fa’s secret would prob­a­bly nev­er have come to light had he not accused a van dri­ver of assault­ing him in a row over a park­ing tick­et in Octo­ber 2005.

It led to the sen­sa­tion­al dis­clo­sure about his past in open court.

That case was then dropped and he was charged with fraud but walked away with a 12-month sus­pend­ed sen­tence. He has quit his job.

It is still not clear how he was allowed back into Britain.


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