INTERVIEW ON THE TODAY PROGRAMME 19/10/17 07:50
MAX HILL QC INDEPENDENT REVIEWER OF TERRORISM LEGISLATION
Justin Webb (JW): How great is the risk that the killers who flee from the defeat of Islamic State in Raqqa come back to Europe, to Britain, and kill people here? The battle for Raqqa is over and Islamic State lost. The centre-piece of what they thought was going to be their caliphate is gone, thereâs no doubt about that, but plenty of them survived. The European Union security commissioner, Julian King, told us yesterday that about 8,000 of them might try to come to Europe. Many of them are of course European passport holders, some are British. So after Raqqa, what now?
Max Hill QC is on the line, heâs the Independent Reviewer of Terrorist Legislation and Richard Barrett is as well, former global counter terrorism director of MI6, now director of the think tank the Global Strategy Network. Good morning to you both.
Richard Barrett (RB): Good morning.
Max Hill QC (MHQC): Good morning.
JW: Can I start with you Richard Barrett, how ready are we to deal with an upsurge of people coming back from Raqqa and from other parts of the area, if indeed that is what happens now?
RB: Well some of them are back already so I suppose the security services are already dealing with that problem, and Andrew Parker said just the day before yesterday that heâd never seen so many terrorist threats out there..
JW: Heâs the boss of MI5?
RB: Indeed, indeed, and he no doubt reflects the return of some of the foreign fighters, and we believe about half of the 850 or so British citizens or residents who went to join the Islamic State are now back home. But itâs not so much a question of what to do when they come back as to understand why they came back I think, and to understand a little bit about the atmosphere, the environment to which theyâre returning. And if they are received as sort of heroes, people who have achieved a great thing, then clearly that makes them more dangerous than if theyâre rejected by society, so the attitude of society on return I think is very important.