Extremism and Intelligence


Contemporary extremist threats encompass a widening spectrum, whereby long-standing threats are supplemented by the stubborn persistence of historical threats, and by the emergence of new threats and Violent Transnational Social Movements (VTSMs). For security and intelligence agencies, the management challenges posed by the evolving picture are complex and multi-faceted. Probably the most difficult challenge is that of prioritisation and the allocation of resources across the spectrum of investigation. Other challenges include those of recruiting and retaining staff with the right cutting-edge skills, especially in such fields of social media exploitation; and a fundamental definitional question of how to define some of the newly-emerging threats, avoiding questions of surveillance crossing-over into inappropriate suppression of legitimate dissent in a liberal democracy.

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