23, December 2016
A former director at the British MI6 has claimed that German intelligence authorities are overwhelmed by and are almost unable to track some 7,000 “live” terrorist cases in their country. Richard Barrett told the BBC Radio 4’s Today program that there were around 550 “really extreme potential terrorists on the books” in Germany.
“If you include all the Lander (local regions) in Germany, they have about 7,000 live cases,” he claimed. “As you can imagine, that is an almost impossible number to control.” Barrett is a former director of global counter-terrorism operations at the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as the MI6.
In addition, Barret said, a wider group of potential suspects were those who had “come to attention in this context of radical extremism,” and were therefore “worthy of investigation.” It was not clear whether Barret was citing official data from Germany and, if so, how he had obtained it; and there was no comment from German intelligence authorities as of Friday morning.
German security forces have been criticized for a recent terrorist attack in the country that killed 12 people and injured 50. The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which is mainly active in militancy in Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the Monday attack. Germany security officials have identified the main suspect in the terrorist attack, in which a 40-ton truck was rammed into a busy Berlin Christmas market, as Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian asylum seeker.
Amri, who had been under surveillance by German intelligence after he arrived in the country in 2015 and had been arrested three times already this year, should have been deported several months ago as his asylum application had been rejected.
However, Amri’s deportation papers were never served to him as he slipped under the radar despite being a known radical extremist who is alleged to have received weapons training, possibly by Daesh militants. Police have now spread a dragnet to find Amri, who remains at large and possibly dangerous.