LONDON – Britain’s top domestic spymaster on Wednesday cautioned the population from viewing the threat of espionage from Russia and China as terrorism, warning that foreign spies may be seeking to steal technology, sow discord and attack infrastructure. Were were
The 9/11 attacks on the United States nearly 20 years ago made counterterrorism a top priority for Western intelligence agencies, with vast resources focused on threats from domestic and foreign-based terrorists.
But the growing tenacity of post-Soviet Russia and the rise of China have forced the West’s most powerful spies to turn their attention back to old-fashioned counterintelligence, or deal with other spies in a constant cat-and-mouse game. for.
Ken McCallum, Director General of the Security Service (MI5), said British intelligence had seen 10,000 disguised approaches by foreign spies to manipulate ordinary people in Britain.
The consequences of espionage by foreign powers can range from “disappointment and inconvenience, through to loss of livelihood, potentially up to the loss of life”, McCallum will say in a speech at Thames House, MI5’s London headquarters.
“We must, over time, build the same public awareness and resilience to state threats that we have done over the years on terrorism,” he said in excerpts from his speech released by MI5.
“You need not be afraid; but be on.”
British spies say both China and Russia have tried to steal commercially sensitive data and intellectual property, as well as interfere in politics and sow misinformation.
Career Detective McCallum said the entire country should be alert to the threat of foreign espionage.
“We see great UK universities and researchers plagiarizing or copying their discoveries; we see businesses hollowed out by the loss of profit they have worked hard to make,” he said.
“Given half a chance, hostile actors will short-circuit years of patient British research or investment. It is happening in a big way. And it affects all of us. UK Jobs, UK Public Services, UK Futures.”
MI5 began in 1909 as a counter-intelligence service, first focusing on the threat from Germany and then, after World War II, on the Cold War threat posed by agents of the Soviet Union.
McCallum will also speak about threats emanating from Northern Ireland, far-right groups and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.