British spy chief says Russian Federation is spreading lies to undermine the West

Leroy Wright
May 14, 2018

The head of MI5 is to deliver Britain's strongest condemnation yet of Russian Federation as he criticises its "flagrant breaches" of worldwide law in a rare public attack on a foreign power.

Andrew Parker, the director general of MI5, called upon the European Union to work with the United Kingdom in their collective fight against militant and Russian forces.

"We have no desire to escalate tensions or go back to the tense and risky times that Europe lived through during the cold war".

MI5, established in 1909 to counter German espionage ahead of World War One, is tasked with protecting British national security and so takes the lead, along with the police, in countering militant attacks.

The UK suffered four deadly militant attacks a year ago that killed 36 people, the deadliest spate since the London "7/7" bombings of July 2005.

Speaking ahead of the May 22 anniversary of the Manchester bombing, Parker said that 12 plots had been thwarted since the Westminster attack, bringing the total number of disrupted attacks since 2013 to 25.

The extremist group Islamic State is plotting "devastating and more complex attacks", Parker said.

Andrew Parker said recent aggressive actions directed by the Kremlin were unacceptable.

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He also said the European Commission is working with social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to better inform users about why they are seeing certain posts and who is paying for them, to help protect against disinformation campaigns by groups or governments outside the country.

Mr Parker will describe how the incident was a "deliberate and targeted malign activity" which risks Russian Federation becoming a "more isolated pariah".

Russian-state media outlets and representatives promoted at least 30 "explanations" for the Salisbury nerve agent attack as part of a campaign to shift blame for the attempted assassination, the head of MI5 has said.

London has blamed Moscow for the poisoning of Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence operative who became an informant for Britain's MI6 foreign spy service, in the first use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II.

He did not single out specific sources but the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom has repeatedly issued statements and tweets disputing Britain's allegations about the attack.

Germany's domestic intelligence chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, said his agency, known as BfV, blames Russian authorities for orchestrating a persistent cyberattack aimed at stealing sensitive data so it can be used in future intelligence campaigns, such as what happened with the Democratic National Committee emails leaked during the 2016 USA presidential election campaign.

MI5's Parker said Russian Federation had sowed large-scale disinformation in an attempt to divide the West.

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