LONDON, Nov 1, (Agencies): Police and intelligence services have disrupted 12 plots to attack Britain since June 2013, Andrew Parker, director general of the MI5 domestic intelligence agency, said on Monday. “Today the most visible threat is from terrorism and in particular that posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant — ISIL — or DAESH in Syria,” Parker said, according to a text of his remarks posted on the agency’s website. “Together with MI6 (the foreign intelligence service), GCHQ (the security agency), and the police, MI5 has disrupted 12 plots in the UK since June 2013.”
Russia is pushing its foreign policy in increasingly aggressive ways including cyber-attacks and espionage, posing a growing threat to Britain and the rest of Europe, the head of Britain’s internal intelligence agency MI5 has said. As finance minister Philip Hammond unveiled the country’s new five-year cyber security strategy and hinted at threats from Russia in a speech, the Kremlin dismissed the allegations as untrue and challenged its critics to produce evidence. MI5 Director General Andrew Parker said Russia had been a covert threat for decades, but what differed now from the Cold War era was that there were more and more methods available for it to pursue its anti-Western agenda.
“Russia increasingly seems to define itself by opposition to the West and seems to act accordingly,” he told the Guardian newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday. “It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways, involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across Europe and in the UK today.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Parker’s words “do not correspond to reality”. “Until someone produces proof, we will consider those statements unfounded and groundless,” he said.
Parker, told the country’s top scientists on Monday that the spy agency’s science and technology experts are increasingly being asked to counter the threats posed by terrorists — and he needs the best and the brightest to keep the UK safe.
Speaking to the Royal Society, Parker urged scientists, computer experts, engineers and mathematicians to “consider the varied and challenging roles a career in British intelligence can offer.” British intelligence agencies have long been equated with macho daredevils in the style of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Parker’s comments suggest a greater role for the likes of “Q,” creator of Bond’s technological gadgets. Parker says the agencies are stronger “with the richest mix of talents we can find.”
The spy chief’s comments follow the US earlier this month accusing Russia of trying to interfere in the upcoming presidential election by hacking US political institutions, charges the Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed. A focal point of strained relations between Russia and the west has been Syria, where Moscow is backing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Britain will boost its cyber security defences with a 1.9 billion pound ($2.32 billion) investment due to be announced by Finance Minister Philip Hammond later on Tuesday, a statement from the Treasury said. The new National Cyber Security Strategy will provide funding to develop automatic defences to help protect British businesses and citizens online, and beef up the country’s cyber workforce to help defend against attacks. Hammond will outline how the new funding will help protect Britain in a world where a growing number of connected devices makes both key national infrastructure in energy and transport, and private citizens, more vulnerable. The 1.9 billion pound investment over the next five years represents a doubling of the funding provided for cyber defence over the 2011-2016 period.