In 2016 Alex Younger said cyber-attacks, propaganda and subversion from hostile states pose a “fundamental threat” to European democracies including the UK. In a rare speech by an MI6 chief while in office Younger did not specifically name Russia but left no doubt that this was the target of his remarks. Russia has since been accused of interfering in the US presidential election and there are concerns it attempted to do so in French and German elections in 2017.
MI6, as with most quasi-governmental bodies, is a-political and is there to serve which ever political party is voted for as the majority government in control of the UK at any one time. MI6 has a continuous and long term role to fulfil which, in theory and in practice means that the 'service' will not be unduly influenced by any political ideology. However, the recent events concerning the Russians and their alleged involvement in the US elections and of course the Salisbury incidents, has refocussed public attention on our relationship with President Putin. In accordance with the above, and the 'continuity' principle, it may come as no surprise that the so-called 'cold war' tensions have never really disappeared. In actual fact, over recent years the number of estimated 'agents' operating in one capacity or another in the US is larger now than it was throughout the 'cold war'. It is not necessarily the job of SIS to respond to short term crises and give way to knee jerk reactions to isolated events, but rather to use well informed and credible intelligence to anticipate future issues which are likely to affect the security of the UK from foreign threats.
World War II
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