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Panorama
Frontline Britain
Panorama: Frontline Britain

Panorama: Frontline Britain, was broadcast on Sunday, 16 March 2003 on BBC One.

As almost certain combatants in a war with Iraq, Britain faces its greatest threat yet as a target for Islamic terrorists.

Extremists linked to al-Qaeda have established terror cells in the UK and an attack on the country is considered inevitable. It's likely to come in the form of a chemical, biological, or 'dirty bomb' attack. According to one senior intelligence source, 'al-Qaeda are going to keep coming at us and war with Iraq will only increase the threat'.

For the first time in its history Britain is learning to live in the shadow of suicide terrorism.

Panorama tells the story of the UK's secret war against Al-Qaeda. The programme follows the work of MI5, MI6 and Special Branch since the collapse of the Twin Towers and examines what an intelligence source described as the `biggest change in posture since the end of the Cold War'.

There are serious questions, though, about the security services' ability to infiltrate al-Qaeda's network in Britain. The country's hidden army of 'handlers' may have mastered the technique of running secret agents within Northern Ireland for thirty years, but have they left it too late to target Islamic extremists?

Beyond the intelligence war, Panorama investigates the highly secretive issue of what the government is planning in the event of a 'catastrophic' terrorist attack, and discovers serious shortcomings.

One emergency planning officer tells Panorama that we are simply 'sleepwalking our way towards a disaster'?

Production team:
Reporter: Andy Davies
Producer: David Wickham
Editor: Mike Robinson

Panorama: Frontline Britain

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