Ryan Bridge: We need more spies and wiretaps to stay safe

Surveillance spying
I don't care about the cost - I want us to be as vigilant as possible, writes Ryan Bridge.

OPINION: Hire more spies and wiretap us, please.

As lone-wolf terrorists continue wreaking havoc on western civilisation, we ought to follow in the footsteps of the one place on earth where such attacks are shrinking in number: Israel.

Despite being the prize target of multiple terror groups, and notwithstanding Israel's multiple attacks on the Palestinian territories, its hardcore approach to counter-terrorism at home has had some success. 

You'll never stop every attack; lone wolves are hard to pick from the crowd and are often driven as much by mental illness as they are ideology. 

But Israel's managed to prevent or limit bloodshed using an alert system, social media monitoring and campaigns as well as basic human intelligence.

When suspicious online activity is detected, counter-terror agents investigate, arrest the suspect if they can, interview friends and family, build trust where possible and find out what the suspect did in the lead up to planning an attack.

This information forms a profile of the suspect. That profile is used to keep tabs on activists but also helps agents identify similar behaviours in other citizens who might be heading down the same path.

Israel also funds social media campaigns aimed at dissuading terrorists and those who seek to copy them.

I'm not usually in favour of increased government spending, but when it comes to the security of our country, it's worth it. 

Hire more spies, as many as you need and maybe a few more.

The SIS does a pretty good job of gathering intelligence on people and groups who might seek to commit attacks here, but are helped in large part by the fact we're a small country with a relatively homogenous social, cultural and economic fabric. 

That makes their job easier.

But things are changing.

And as western ISIS supporters losing crucial ground in Iraq and Syria begin heading back to their homelands, the problem of local radicalisation will only get worse. 

I don't care about the cost - I want us to be as vigilant as possible. 

Ryan Bridge is the host of Your Sunday on Radiolive. Tune in from 10am-2pm to hear in-depth analysis and expert opinion about national security and intelligence.