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Olympics pose challenge to UK spies: Panel

A panel said MI5 had come under "significant pressure" as it attempts to neutralise threats from al Qaeda or Irish Republican dissidents.



London: Britain`s intelligence and security committee says the country`s spy agencies are under strain as they face a critical challenge from the London Olympics.

The panel of nine lawmakers said on Thursday in its annual report that domestic spy service MI5 had come under "significant pressure" as it attempts to neutralise threats from al Qaeda linked groups or Irish Republican dissidents and take on a key role in security checks for Olympic accreditations.

Chairman Malcolm Rifkind says the committee believes al Qaeda and affiliates continue to threaten Britain.

The panel also says Britain`s spies should have better predicted the spread of unrest that unfolded during the Arab Spring.

Rifkind says a failure to foresee the extent of the uprisings "presented a real challenge to the intelligence community which had to reprioritise quickly”.

PTI

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