Ronald Noble: ‘Terrorists plan on email. And we can’t track them’ (Independent.co.uk):
As a former head of the US Secret Service, Ronald Noble knows only too well how terrorism, drug-smuggling and people-trafficking cross borders which individual police forces cannot. He is now Secretary General of Interpol, and a specialist team from the organisation he has spent 11 years rebuilding will next summer help the Metropolitan Police combat those crimes and others, during the huge security operation protecting the 2012 Olympic Games.
Meeting The Independent before visiting Scotland Yard to discuss arrangements for the Games, Mr Noble said he recognised that some people are scared the event could bring an increased threat of violence to the UK.
“In terms of terrorist activity, there is talk, there is chatter, that follows any major event,” he says, but adds Interpol has “not seen or heard terrorists saying we’re going to target this event”.
“We try to think like terrorists would think,” he continues. “A smart terrorist would know that if the world’s attention is focused on something and they commit a terrorist act it will help them create the kind of fear that would make people want to leave London.
“My concern is that the people planning that attack – that nuclear attack, that bio-terrorist attack, that attack that should concern us all as a world – would be able to plan it more effectively because we don’t have a network in place for tracing the source of email messages on the internet,” he says.
“One of the things I want to do … is to create a cyber-fusion centre, where police around the world can go to one place quickly and find out the source of any kind of message or communication that’s come across the internet.”
That in itself may alarm some. But Mr Noble emphasises the centre will only target specific, suspicious emails, saying it simply could not track all the messages from billions of innocent people even if Interpol wanted it to.
Nevertheless, some civil liberties groups have questioned Interpol’s accountability and transparency.