At some point today unbeknownst to me the UK entered into the highest level of threat that of critical.
Oh my! How in the world could I have missed such an important event as the changing of our current threat level to its highest possible state? Whatever shall I do now?
That’s the pertinent question what shall we as the public do now? No one knows because there is nothing for the public to do other than get scared.
The Threat Level System has according to the Home Office website been created to keep the public informed about the level of threat to the UK from terrorism. But it’s of no practical use it’s like shouting DANGER in a crowded city centre street, it can do nothing but cause confusion and fear as there is no specific advice associated with each different level of threat.
So what event has caused the threat level to be raised?
It was the arrest of 24 people by police who were suspected of a plot against UK flights to the US. The police believe they have disrupted this plot to blow up these transatlantic flights and are convinced they have detained the key players, but believe the network involved is large and global.
The plot apparently was to smuggle liquid explosives onto around ten transatlantic flights in water bottles or similarly innocuous containers. Airlines have now taken the precaution of preventing people taking anything other than the most essential pieces of hand luggage onto flights leaving the UK. The police have said that the plotters could have caused “mass murder on an unimaginable scale”.
Yes they could have blown up many airliners and killed hundreds of people but for the fact that the people involved had been under surveillance for some time. We shall have to wait and see when more information is released about how far along there really were with their plot whether they were a credible threat to our security. I do not want to get caught up in the politician’s gambit of who can imagine the worst scenario possible.
Security chiefs said the group believed to be planning the attack had been under surveillance for some time.
US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the plot was “in some respects suggestive of al-Qaeda”.
“They had accumulated and assembled the capabilities that they needed and they were in the final stages of planning for execution,” he said.
It had only become apparent in the “last two weeks” that the target of the flights was the US, said Mr Chertoff.
Another problem I see with having a public Threat Level System is that surely it tips the terrorists off to the fact that they might be under surveillance. If the level increases correspondingly as the terrorist group gets closer to the commission of their act of terrorism is that not an indication that the UK Security Services are onto them.