(HERALD SUN)More than 100 planned terrorist attacks around the world have been prevented since 2001, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said yesterday.
Mr Ruddock refused to divulge how many had been thwarted in Australia, saying most of the planned acts were in the US and Britain. Intelligence gained from captured terrorists, spying activities or electronic intercepts was responsible for most of the preventive actions, he said. “It is important to recognise we have been targeted,” Mr Ruddock said. “There are people among us, working and living in our community, who would seek to do us harm.”
He told the Australian Homeland Security conference in Canberra yesterday the Australian and international intelligence community was making inroads into the terrorists’ plans.
Mr Ruddock also warned that a planned Labor judicial inquiry into our spy agencies would distract key senior officers from fighting terrorism.
He also advised against using a “broad brush” in relation to hitting terrorists, adding society should be bolstering moderate Muslims.
An American terrorist expert estimated that about 70,000 trained terrorists remained free around the world.
Daniel Benjamin, a senior fellow at the Centre for International and Strategic Studies in Washington and former counter-terrorism adviser to president Bill Clinton, told the conference via satellite that the Iraq war was a mistake and had pushed many moderate Muslims towards terrorism.