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Russian FSB director urges to intensify data exchange

July 27, 2016, 12:58 UTC+3

Information exchange needed on militants who received military training in armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq and return to their countries, becoming active recruiters

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Director of the Russian Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov

Director of the Russian Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

ST. PETERSBURG, July 27. /TASS/. Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov has urged the country’s intelligence agencies to intensify the exchange of data on persons traveling to hot spots. He made this statement at the 15th meeting of the heads of the security and law enforcement agencies’ secret services that opened in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

The FSB director noted that the exchange of information between intelligence services today is slow, it often happens after the plans have been put into practice. He said another problem is the lack of integration of numerous departmental databases (on the participants and leaders of terrorist organizations) that accumulate information on this category of persons and their accomplices, structural links, the routes of travel and delivery of resources.

"No doubt, national special services have a lot of such information; however, its significance is determined by the possibility for all structures concerned to work with it. Otherwise, these data remain useless and access to them is opened with great delays and frequently after bandits implement their criminal intentions," the FSB chief said, adding that "it is not for the first time that we witnessed such facts."

The FSB chief said he was confident that it was necessary to change approaches to security services’ work and consolidate efforts for raising the efficiency of cooperation and act more substantively and promptly, look for new methods and constantly improve the mechanisms of exchanging the data that were of primary importance for organizing the search for terrorists.

Near 3,000 persons trained aborad identified in Russia

The FSB chief added around 3,000 persons suspected of receiving military training in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq have been identified in Russia in 2015.

Militants who received military training in armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq return to their countries and become active recruiters, Bortnikov said.

"They become active preachers of jihad and work underground to prepare and carry out terrorist attacks," the FSB director said. "In 2015 over 2,900 persons were identified in Russia who are suspected of involvement in terrorist activities in the aforementioned countries," he added.

"For Russia, just like for many other countries, the threat of increasing terrorist activities as a result of mass return of militants is among the most pressing problems," he stressed.

"The ‘sleeping cells’ created by leaders of ISIL, Jebhat al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda (terrorist organizations banned in Russia) are ‘coming to life’ with the flow of militants who enters European countries together with multiple migrants. It is an open secret that an explosive growth of numbers of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa destabilizes socio-economic situation and sharply aggravates crime situation in many countries, considerably increases the load of work for special services," the FSB director noted.

"Terrorists actively used this as they staged terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Turkey several attacks in 2015-2016 that resulted in multiple deaths," he added. Russian special services now "receive reliable information about plans of gang leaders hiding on the territory of several Middle Eastern countries who want to continue their terrorist activities and try to give a new impetus to North Caucasian gang activities," he concluded.

Russia keeps track of 220 potential suicide bombers

According to Bortnikov, Russian intelligence services now keep track of more than 220 potential pseudo Shakhids (suicide bombers).

"More than 220 potential pseudo Shakhids in Russia are under security service surveillance. Employees of Russia’s FSB are engaged in the system-based work to identify the persons involved in the training of the so-called ‘human bombs’ and in terror acts with their use," Bortnikov said.

The Federal Security Service director said there is the rising trend in the world towards involving suicide bombers in high-profile acts of terrorism. Among the problems faced by the law enforcement agencies of different countries he named the intrusive glorification by terrorists of suicide bombers as martyrs for the faith. "It should be admitted that they have, unfortunately, succeeded in forming such a background, idealizing individual terror, as is evidenced by the rising trend towards committing high-profile terror acts by suicide bombers", said the FSB director.

According to him, another serious problem is the use of the Internet by the bandits to disseminate their aggressive ideas. "Ingeniously using psychological leverage, the ideologues of terrorism have managed to create an attractive image of terrorism, which allows them to involve women and children into their ranks," Bortnikov said.

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