World Bulletin / News Desk
Andrew Parker, director general of MI5, told the Guardian that the Kremlin posed the greatest threat to Britain at a time when the country faced risks from terrorist groups such as ISIL and Northern Irish dissidents.
“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,” he said in the first newspaper interview ever given by an incumbent MI5 chief.
“Russia is at work across Europe and in the U.K. today.”
He said Russia maintained a significant number of intelligence officers in Britain but that it was also active in cyber warfare.
“Russia increasingly seems to define itself by opposition to the West and seems to act accordingly,” Parker said. “You can see that on the ground with Russia’s activities in Ukraine and Syria.
“But there is high volume activity out of sight with the cyber threat. Russia has been a covert threat for decades. What’s different these days is that there are more and more methods available.”
Parker’s comments came on the day Chancellor Philip Hammond was due to announce a 1.9 billion pound ($2.33 billion) cyber security strategy.
The intelligence chief said that 12 terror attacks had been thwarted in the last three years. “International terrorism in its latest shape, based on twisted ideology, brings terror to our streets and most of the developed world, including North America, Australia and Turkey,” he said.
He said Britain’s counter-terrorism efforts meant most attacks would be stopped but added: “There will be terrorist attacks in this country. The threat level is severe and that means likely.”