Chris Hughes: Overstretched MI5 can’t monitor terror suspects 24/7

Chris Hughes: Overstretched MI5 can’t monitor terror suspects 24/7


MI5 agents were aware of Khuram Butt’s extremism from 2014 and, inevitably, people are asking how they missed signs he was planning an attack.

Butt and his fellow lunatics were under surveillance to varying degrees but it is a ludicrous, Hollywood-based myth that intelligence officers have the resources to track suspects 24 hours a day.

Every day MI5’s terror targets are prioritised and down-scaled in a bid to balance a rising threat with limited resources.

It takes dozens of officers to follow someone – with the added complication of watching all of the individuals that they meet.

Mistakes are made as highly-trained followers cut a fine line between observation and trying not to be spotted – and possibly killed.

There are currently a staggering 700 live MI5 investigations into possible terror attacks – by the woefully under-staffed intelligence agency.

There may be another 20,000 “Butts” ready to attack.

And despite all of the so-called alarm bells that have emerged in the inquest it really didn’t ever look like this outrage might happen, before the event.

And perhaps, even despite the dreadful horror of what happened on London Bridge, it might not have been as terrible as some of those other attacks that are being smashed every few weeks.

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