Ter­ror tsar stunned by threats fac­ing Oz

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - SIMON BEN­SON

THE coun­try’s first na­tional se­cu­rity tsar has warned that the new and un­prece­dented threat of ter­ror­ism in Australia could be with us for decades, pos­si­bly a gen­er­a­tion to come.

In a stark as­sess­ment of the grow­ing se­cu­rity risk, na­tional counter-ter­ror­ism co-or­di­na­tor Greg Mo­ri­arty re­vealed he had been “stunned” by the clas­si­fied in­tel­li­gence brief­ings on the ex­tent of the threats fac­ing the na­tion.

In his first in­ter­view since his ap­point­ment three weeks ago to the most pow­er­ful counter-ter­ror­ism role in the coun­try, Mr Mo­ri­arty told The Courier-Mail the threats were some­thing ev­ery­one should be deeply con­cerned about.

“The num­ber of peo­ple sup­port­ing Daesh (ISIS), com­pared to 18 months ago, the num­ber of peo­ple trav­el­ling, is ris­ing,” he said. “The length of time and the ex­tent of the chal­lenge, we are prob­a­bly talk­ing many years … pos­si­bly a gen­er­a­tion … to deal with it.”

The Courier-Mail last week re­vealed the num­ber of Aus­tralians now iden­ti­fied as fight­ing along­side ter­ror­ists in Iraq or Syria had risen to 110.

Mr Mo­ri­arty, the for­mer Am­bas­sador to In­done­sia and Iran, said in his years deal­ing with Je­maah Is­lamiah and alQa’ida, the ter­ror­ist model be­came well-known. “But this is a new phe­nom­e­non … and we have to adapt,” he said.

Mr Mo­ri­arty said the re­al­ity of the threat be­come ap­par­ent to him when he re­ceived clas­si­fied brief­ings from spy and counter-ter­ror­ism agency chiefs.

“I was alert to it but I’ve been stunned by the depth of the prob­lem and the ex­tent of it,” Mr Mo­ri­arty said be­fore the global sum­mit on coun­ter­ing vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism in Syd­ney to­mor­row.

Mr Mo­ri­arty said the great­est ca­su­al­ties of ter­ror­ism had been Mus­lims and one of his key roles would be en­gag­ing the com­mu­nity.

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