In the first media interview ever granted by a sitting MI-5 director, Jonathan Evans told The Times of London Britain's unceasing spying on thousands of terrorism suspects, as well as its successful prosecution of terrorism cases, is hampering efforts by al-Qaida to carry out more terror attacks on British soil.
"There have been 86 successful convictions since January 2007 of whom approaching half pleaded guilty, which has had a chilling effect on the enthusiasm of the networks," Evans told The Times. "They're keeping their heads down."
Evans said al-Qaida is still looking to recruit Islamic British citizens to its cause.
"The strategic intent of the al-Qaida core, (based) in Pakistan, is to mount attacks in the U.K., and their model is to use British nationals or residents to deliver the attacks," he told the newspaper.
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