PJ wants to infiltrate terrorist networks to ‘keep Portugal safe’
Speaking at a recent conference in Lisbon on international terrorism, PJ director general Luís Neves has revealed his force’s plan is to place agents within strategic areas of the capital where potential radicals could be at work.
Mosques particularly, and areas around Martim Moniz (on Lisbon’s outskirts) were mentioned, writes tabloid Correio da Manhã.
“We want to make a qualitative leap forward in international terrorism research with more rigorous and firm implementation of special techniques”, Neves told his audience, citing the use of “covert actions and undercover agents”, as always, in collaboration with international partners.
Neves has reached the top job within the PJ after more than a decade running its counter-terrorism unit.
Use of undercover agents has been “fundamental” in the past, he said – describing an incident at a NATO summit in Lisbon in 2010 when the combined expertise of the PJ, SIS (secret services) and PSP managed to avert a credible threat.
The example “illustrates the necessity of across-the-board sharing of sensitive information between police forces and services”, he explained, stressing there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of human relationships and trust with secret information.
Following the terrorist attack in Madrid, Spain, in 2004, the PJ’s counter terrorism unit had to deal with no less than 800 “important episodes” in three months, Neves said.
CM’s splash on national director’s objectives stresses that while threats of terrorism in Portugal remain moderate, they are considered high in Europe – which implies authorities must up their game as a means of staying safe.
SIS director general Neiva da Cruz has explained that ‘challenges’ today are in “impeding the radicalisation of young people and dealing with terrorists who return to their European countries of origin.”