According to The Guardian just an hour ago, the UK terror threat assessment has been “raised from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe'”. Also, the “terrorist threat has been at substantial, meaning an attack is a ‘strong possibility’, since July.”
The threat of international terrorism to the UK was raised from substantial to severe tonight, meaning that an attack is ‘highly likely’.
Alan Johnson, the home secretary, stressed, however, that there was no intelligence to suggest an attack was imminent. He said the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) had taken the decision.
What can this mean? What makes an attack both “highly likely” but also “not imminent”?
I do wish they wouldn’t speak in riddles.
UPDATE: The BBC casts some illumination on the important nuances between “strong possibility” and “highly likely” but not “imminent”.
It is of course no help that The Guardian story claims: “Johnson said the change in status was not specifically linked to the increased threat from international terrorism following the failed Detroit plane bombing on Christmas Day.” while the BBC report says: “It is in response to the perceived increased threat from international terrorism following the failed Detroit airliner bombing on Christmas Day.”