not counter,implying the use of chemical or biological material.
[JIC, 9 June 1999]
Some work with biological agents was also attributed to Abu Khabbab, though the evidence was not detailed. However, the JIC’s judgement that Al Qaida was developing biological weapons was confirmed by the discovery in Afghanistan of the Kandahar laboratory, and evidence that scientists had been recruited.
INTELLIGENCE RESPONSES TO INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
Few of the measures being taken by the Government to improve the response to the terrorist threat are unique to attacks using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials. The threat is international, and has motivated intelligence organisations to intensify both national and international collaboration on an unprecedented scale. All of the UK intelligence agencies are developing new techniques, and we have seen clear evidence that they are co-operating at all levels.
The most obvious embodiment of enhanced inter-departmental co-operation in the UK is the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC). This is a multi-agency organisation, hosted by the Security Service but staffed by personnel seconded from all of the agencies, law enforcement organisations and relevant departments. Its staff retain links to their parent departments and, operating on a round-the-clock basis, pool information to produce continuous assessments of threats within the UK, to British interests abroad and of terrorist activities generally. JTAC has now been operating for over a year and has proved a success.
The Security Service and Home Office are improving public education, through web sites and by other means, for both long-term and immediate appreciation of terrorist threats.
International counter-terrorism collaboration has also been significantly enhanced in the past six or seven years. Though we understand that other countries have not yet achieved the same level of inter-departmental synthesis, considerable developments have taken place. Staff of the UK intelligence and security agencies are today in much wider contact with their opposite numbers throughout the world. We have, for example, been briefed on a recent successful counter-terrorist operation which involved eight different countries working together. We note these initiatives, but remain concerned that the procedures of the international community are still not sufficiently aligned to match the threat.