The government and media have blown the Islamist terrorism threat out of proportion, giving extremists publicity which is counter-productive, a former head of Britain's intelligence service has said.
Sir Richard Dearlove, chief of MI6 at the time of the Iraq invasion, said there had been a fundamental change in the nature of Islamist extremism since the Arab Spring. It had created a major political problem in the Middle East but the west, including Britain, was only marginally affected, he told an audience in London on Monday.
Richard Dearlove said Britons spreading 'blood-curdling' terrorism messages should be ignored.
Unlike the threat posed by al-Qaida before and after the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001, the west was not the main target of the radical fundamentalism that created the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), he said.
Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute, a security and defence thinktank, Dearlove made it clear that the way the government and the media were giving the extremists the "oxygen of publicity" was counter-productive.
More details soon …