Australia Lowers Terror Threat for First Time Since 2014
Australia’s intelligence agency ASIO has lowered its terror threat for the first time since 2014. An attack is no longer “probable” but “possible,” said Director General Mike Burgess. It is the second lowest level on a scale of five.
In 2014, ASIO raised the threat level to “probable” (level three) due to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East. “A significant number of Australians have been seduced by slick propaganda and false narratives,” Burgess said.
That decision was “tragically justified”, the ASIO chief emphasized. Since 2014, there have been 11 terrorist attacks on Australian soil, while 21 serious terror plans have been “detected and disrupted”. However, this year there were “no attacks or major dismantling”.
“While Australia remains a potential terrorist target, there are fewer extremists intent on an attack than when we raised the threat level in 2014,” said Burgess. He stressed that the assessment also considered the repatriation of Australian relatives of IS fighters from Syria.
However, the danger has not completely passed: there is a chance that someone in Australia could die at the hands of a terrorist within the next year, Burgess said. “Individuals still fantasize about killing other Australians, still spread their hateful ideologies in chat rooms and still hone their skills by researching bomb-making and training with weapons.”