MI5 marks 20th anniversary of 9/11
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the appalling terror attacks against the United States on September 11th 2001, our thoughts are with all of those who lost their lives and those whose lives were forever changed by the tragic events that unfolded. We also pay tribute to those first responders who risked, and in some cases sacrificed, their own lives to rescue others in the aftermath.
The events of 9/11 left a lasting impression on a generation, shaped the course of world events for years to come and changed the nature of the terrorist threat facing the UK and our allies. The scenes broadcast to the world that day had a profound and enduring effect on those working for MI5, who found themselves facing a threat of unparalleled scale.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme today, Friday, 10 September 2021, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum shared his own personal reflections about the events of that day:
“On 9/11 I’d been in MI5 for five years as an agent runner, working with human sources inside terrorist organisations in Nothern Ireland. On the morning of 9/11 when the first plan struck the Twin Towers we turned on the television in the corner of a room and as the second plane struck, a colleague quietly said ‘Osama Bin Laden’ . Someone else said ‘I guess we all know what we are doing for the next 10 years of our lives' – and so it proved. In the 20 years since, we have faced wave after wave of terrorism from extremists seeking to cause mass causalities, prepared to give up their own lives in the act. That is a horrifying reality but it is also, by the same token, a very motivating mission for my organisation."
To pay our respects, we are flying the UK and US flags alongside each other in the entrance of Thames House, our London HQ.
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