According to a new report out of London, British domestic intelligence service MI-5 has begun investigating four potential al-Qaeda sleeper agents in high positions with Scotland Yard. The four men from southwest Asia have had access to very sensitive information on national-security efforts, including raids on suspected terrorist cells. MI-5 now suspects that they have kept AQ in the loop on British intel initiatives:
All four are understood to be Asians living in London and are feared to have links both with Islamic extremists in Britain and worldwide terror groups – including al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
MI5 chiefs reportedly believe the suspected moles have been planted as sleepers – agents under deep cover – to keep al-Qaeda informed of anti-terror raids planned by London’s Metropolitan Police.
They are said to fear the four could have already accessed sensitive information about secret operations to root out terror cells planning further attacks in the UK.
This would not be Britain’s first infiltration by terrorists. The IRA had a good deal of success in infiltrating the police forces as well, especially in the 1970s when the Troubles were particularly violent. Given London’s large population of Pakistanis, Afghans, and others from southwest Asia, a few malevolent individuals can use a little preparation to enter the employment of the police even in ancillary positions, such as the unsuccessful infiltrator Omar Altimimi, who applied for a job as a cleaner at one police station.
The net result will be that more suspicion will fall on police and security officials with varied ethnic backgrounds. Most of that will be misdirected — but it also plays into the hands of AQ. Unfair accusations of disloyalty will encourage isolation and mistrust, and that will make it easier for Islamists to recruit the disaffected. It’s a win-win for Osama bin Laden; he gets to either have his moles get him information, or as a fall-back, he gets to stir up animosity and hatred and drive a wedge in the population of one of the West’s capitals.