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Olympics Puts Security Agencies Under Pressure, Panel Says

The Olympic Games have placed Britain’s security services under “severe pressure” due to the volume of administration needed to tackle all possible terrorist threats, according to the parliamentary panel that oversees the intelligence agencies.

“The security service has reprioritized its work to enable them to counter potential threats from al-Qaeda and its affiliates; Republican dissidents; hostile states and others in the run up to or during the games,” the Intelligence and Security Committee said in its annual report released in London today. “This, combined with the burden of the accreditation process and related work, has placed the security service under significant pressure over the past year.”

The report, which covers 2011-2012, said the threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism is “severe” and “substantial” in Great Britain.

The most significant threat to the U.K. remains that from al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, and Northern Ireland-linked terrorism, the committee said.

“Looking at the work of the intelligence community this year, the ‘Arab Spring’ dominated,” the committee reported. “It caught many by surprise and presented a real challenge to the intelligence community which had to reprioritize quickly and redirect its resources toward the region.”

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