HORDES of Islamic State members have reportedly sneaked into Europe along with desperate migrants – sparking fears of terror attacks on the continent.
ISIS fanatics have taken advantage of porous borders by travelling from North Africa to Italy on boats packed with refugees, according to terrorism experts.
Now it is feared that the notorious group, which controls much of Iraq and Syria, could target Europe within months.
BRITAIN faces a growing threat from terrorists at home and abroad and “cannot hope to stop” every plot, the boss of MI5 has warned.
Andrew Parker said Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria were trying to direct atrocities here and planning “mass casualty attacks” against the West.
His chilling warning came as French police continued the hunt for brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, chief suspects in the Paris magazine massacre in which 12 people were shot dead.
Mr Parker, 52, warned that the terrorist threat was growing at the same time as MI5’s ability to track terrorists was being reduced.
Extremists are finding more secretive ways of communicating online and avoiding being tracked by the security services.
Mr Parker said: “If we are to have the best chance of preventing such harm, we need the capability to shine a light into the activities of the worst individuals who pose the gravest threats.
With its strict privacy laws, Germany is the refuge of choice for those hounded by the security services. Carole Cadwalladr visits Berlin to meet Laura Poitras, the director of Edward Snowden film Citizenfour, and a growing community of surveillance refuseniks
It’s the not knowing that’s the hardest thing, Laura Poitras tells me. “Not knowing whether I’m in a private place or not.” Not knowing if someone’s watching or not. Though she’s under surveillance, she knows that. It makes working as a journalist “hard but not impossible”. It’s on a personal level that it’s harder to process. “I try not to let it get inside my head, but… I still am not sure that my home is private. And if I really want to make sure I’m having a private conversation or something, I’ll go outside.”
Poitras’s documentary about Edward Snowden, Citizenfour, has just been released in cinemas. She was, for a time, the only person in the world who was in contact with Snowden, the only one who knew of his existence. Before she got Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian on board, it was just her – talking, electronically, to the man she knew only as “Citizenfour”. Even months on, when I ask her if the memory of that time lives with her still, she hesitates and takes a deep breath: “It was really very scary for a number of months. I was very aware that the risks were really high and that something bad could happen. I had this kind of responsibility to not fuck up, in terms of source protection, communication, security and all those things, I really had to be super careful in all sorts of ways.”
Bad, not just for Snowden, I say? “Not just for him,” she agrees. We’re having this conversation in Berlin, her adopted city, where she’d moved to make a film about surveillance before she’d ever even made contact with Snowden. Because, in 2006, after making two films about the US war on terror, she found herself on a “watch list”. Every time she entered the US – “and I travel a lot” – she would be questioned. “It got to the point where my plane would land and they would do what’s called a hard stand, where they dispatch agents to the plane and make everyone show their passport and then I would be escorted to a room where they would question me and oftentimes take all my electronics, my notes, my credit cards, my computer, my camera, all that stuff.” She needed somewhere else to go, somewhere she hoped would be a safe haven. And that somewhere was Berlin. Continue reading