In this news, we discuss the UK foiled 27 terror plots in last three years, says spy chief.
Britain’s MI5 security chief said on Wednesday that the UK had successfully foiled 27 ‘advanced stage’ terrorist plots against the country since 2017, eight of which involved right-wing terrorism that continues to pose a growing threat. Ken McCallum, the Managing Director of MI5 – which stands for Military Intelligence Section 5, is one of the UK’s most seasoned spies and in his first public address since taking over the post he also warned that the country was fighting a “bad mix” Hostilities and terrorism backed by foreign states in the 2020s. He pointed to countries like Russia and China as the source of foreign threats to democracy, which are becoming “more serious and complexity ”.
“MI5’s greatest mission remains the fight against terrorism… Islamic extremist terrorism, which in volume remains our greatest threat… and now right-wing terrorism,” said McCallum. “This threat is not today of the same magnitude as extremist Islamist terrorism. But it keeps growing: of the 27 advanced terrorist attack plots in Britain disrupted by MI5 and CT [counter-terrorism] Since 2017, eight have been right-wing extremists, ”he said.
Along with counterterrorism work, MI5 combated hostile activities from other states, which it said was more than just a matter of spies and the theft of state secrets. “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 increasingly serious and complex – as terrorist threats persist on a large scale, ”he said.
“As far as China is concerned, we need extensive teamwork – a broad conversation across government and especially beyond, to come to sound judgments about how the UK interacts with the UK. China on the opportunities and risks. The UK wants to cooperate with China on major global issues such as climate change, while being robust to deal with covert hostile activity when we meet it, ”he said. In an indirect reference to Russia, McCallum warned that the spectrum of hostile activity involved the spread of disinformation online, hacking and leaking, attempts at covert influence over political figures.
“There are delicate lines to draw here. The responsibility for regulating the UK elections rightly lies elsewhere; in a liberal democracy, none of us want MI5 to be the arbiter of political fairness. But we don’t want any hidden foreign influence in our politics either, ”he said. The spy chief, originally from Scotland, took the helm of MI5 in April at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, which he described in his crucial working speech in which his team was involved.
“We looked for where we could help on Covid itself – advising you on the safe construction of [makeshift] Nightingale Hospitals; redirect the research originally done on toxic chemicals to help understand how droplet Covid can disperse in certain environments; offer our skills in data analysis and modeling; simply allowing medically qualified MI5 officers to step down from their duties here and directly support our NHS. And, above all, on the vaccine, we have worked to protect the integrity of UK research, ”he said. The trained mathematician and civil servant by profession said the pandemic has given MI5 a particularly intense phase of the kind of adaptation race it is still in.
- He pointed to countries like Russia and China as the source of foreign threats to democracy, which are growing in “gravity and complexity.” “MI5’s greatest mission remains the fight against terrorism… Islamic extremist terrorism, which in volume remains our greatest threat… and now right-wing terrorism,” said McCallum.
- UK has foiled 27 terrorist plots in past three years, spy chief says