UK loses control of border, fears al Qaeda sleeper cells slipped in
Whenever I despair at our own ability to control entry into this country, I can always look at the UK which should have more control, but apparently rarely bothers. It should be hard to get into the UK without coming into a port of entry where ones papers can be examined. Apparently the back ground investigations are also inadequate.
Counter-terrorism police and Whitehall officials believe dozens of extremists could have arrived here by posing as students or legitimate visitors.
They are concerned both by the relatively lax checks that are made on the visitors before they arrive and by the ease with which they can outstay their visas without anyone noticing.
As many as 13,000 visa applicants may have entered the country from Pakistan in a seven month period since October last year without any checks on their supporting documentation.
The security services fear that because most do not mix with home grown terrorists, they are able to operate under the intelligence radar, acting as sleeper cells until ready to launch attacks in Britain.
They are supposed to be checked by Home Office visa staff working in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
But according to an official watchdog, the Independent Monitor for Entry Clearance, many visa officers do not have "enough time to go through applications carefully".
The security services are also worried about arrivals from Somalia, Yemen and North Africa.
MI5 have got 2,000 domestic extremists under surveillance across the country but is becoming increasingly concerned about the threat from abroad.
Police have discovered that the leader of an alleged plot to blow up shopping centres in Manchester last Easter ran a visa advice service in Peshawar, Pakistan.
He is thought to have helped other alleged members of his terrorist cell to arrive from Pakistan under the cover of student visas.
At least one arrived to attend a course at a "bogus college" that had already had its accreditation withdrawn.