Daniel Flitton
The Age
April 8, 2008

THE one-time chief of Israel’s shadowy spy service Mossad believes the threat of global terrorism has passed its peak — a judgement at odds with warnings by US officials.

For a man who spent 32 years fighting terrorism linked to the world’s most intractable conflict, it is perhaps unexpected optimism. But Shabtai Shavit, Israel’s chief spy in the 1990s, says the blows dealt to al-Qaeda since the September 11 attacks have greatly disrupted Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network.

“The leadership of al-Qaeda is permanently on the run,” he said last week during a visit to Melbourne. “When you are fighting for your personal survival, you have less time and energy to invest in thinking, plotting, (or) planning for additional terrorist attacks. I think, personally, that global jihad is already beyond its zenith.”

But Mr Shavit was careful not to suggest this meant an end to the terrorist threat completely, saying the West needs to pour more money into security around sensitive areas.

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