FACTBOX-Britain’s MI5 spy chief on COVID-19, China, Russia and threats

In this news, we discuss the FACTBOX-Britain’s MI5 spy chief on COVID-19, China, Russia and threats.

British spies are trying to defend the work of the COVID-19 vaccine against hostile powers seeking to steal or sabotage research data in the race for the global price of a coup that can provide immunity, the chief of the MI5. Here are the remarks of the Director General of the Security Service, Ken McCallum.

ON COVID-19: “Obviously, the global price of having a first usable vaccine against this deadly virus is significant, so we would expect a range of other parties across the world to be very interested in this. research.”

“I guess there are two things we’re looking for: attempts to either steal the unique intellectual property that has been generated in this research, or potentially manipulate the data,” he said. “And then the second risk that we need to be aware of is the possibility that the research is still of high integrity and solid, but someone is trying to cast doubt on their integrity.

ON CHINA: “In the 2020s, one of the most difficult challenges facing MI5 and the government is that the various national security challenges presented by Russian, Chinese, Iranian and other actors are becoming more and more severe and complex – while terrorist threats persist on a large scale. “

“We also see interference in politics: the influence of conversations around the European Union, for example. Not long ago, we halted Chinese espionage activity that appeared to target the European Union. »ON THE RUSSIA / EU REFERENDUM:

– Hacking and leaking episodes: “We saw it in the 2019 general election but we didn’t see it in the Brexit referendum.” – Secret influence of those involved in politics: “In the case of the EU referendum, MI5 was indeed investigating at the time and with others has since investigated possible leads from individuals who potentially sought to interfere in the referendum. We did these investigations and nothing significant came of it.

– Influence on social media / troll farms / internet: “There is a relatively thin evidence base some of which seems to have taken place around the EU exit referendum, but it does not appear to be on the same scale as what happened in certain situations we could all name. “MI5 was not in a situation where its radar was turned off.”

BE A SPYMASTER: “When attacks take place, human realities are horrific. I often tell new MI5 members that the hardest thing about working here is that no matter how hard work and ingenuity we put in, it’s not possible for us to stop every attack. Terrorist attacks are always, without exception, disgusting. Every time my phone rings late at night my stomach squirms in case this is one of those horrible times.

ON TERRORISM: “First Northern Ireland, where I grew up as an intelligence professional. Twenty-two years after the Good Friday Agreement, great things have been accomplished; Northern Ireland is not suffering today as it did. Almost everyone has moved on – but a few rejectionist terrorist groups, without significant community support, persist.

“Second, extremist Islamist terrorism, which in volume remains our greatest threat. It is still true that tens of thousands of individuals are engaged in this ideology – and we must continually seek out the smallest numbers within this large group who, at some point, might rally for attacks. Having someone “on our radar” is not the same as subjecting them to detailed real-time scrutiny. “And now right-wing terrorism… This threat is not today of the same magnitude as extremist Islamist terrorism. But it just keeps growing: of the 27 late-stage terrorist attack plots in Britain disrupted by MI5 and CT Policing since 2017, 8 are right-wing extremists.

ON POWERS: “I am pleased that the government has announced its intention to present to Parliament a bill aimed at countering hostile activities. The current legislation leaves gaps; some of the most damaging activities we face currently cannot be prosecuted in criminal courts. It can’t be fair. The detail of legislation in this delicate area will, as always, have to be careful and Parliament will play this role. But the case for the legislation – raising Britain’s defenses to the level many of our friends enjoy – are compelling.

News Highlights:

  • But it just keeps growing: Of the 27 late-stage terrorist attack plots in Britain disrupted by MI5 and CT Policing since 2017, 8 are right-wing extremists. ON POWERS: “I am pleased that the government has announced its intention to present to Parliament a bill aimed at countering hostile activities.
  • FACTBOX-Britain’s MI5 spy chief on COVID-19, China, Russia and threats
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