Scotland sees Nordic spy agencies as post-independence models

United Kingdom and IrelandBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Government administrators in Scotland, which may soon become independent from the United Kingdom, are looking to possibly model their intelligence agencies after those of Scandinavian countries, according to sources. An agreement for an independence referendum, to be held in September 2014, was struck last year between the devolved Scottish Government and the British state. According to the agreement, residents of Scotland, which has been ruled by English-dominated Britain for over 700 years, will be asked whether they agree that the territory should form an independent country. In January of this year, Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, told the Scottish Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs that an independent Scotland would have to build a domestic intelligence agency to combat security threats such as terrorism, organized crime and cyber attacks. Sturgeon, who is also Deputy Leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, opined that, even though a Scottish intelligence agency would serve the interests of the Scottish government and people, it would inevitably maintain “very close intelligence sharing with the rest of the UK”. But Committee members opposed to independence warned Sturgeon that Scottish intelligence agencies would have to prove that they were reliable and safe before they struck intelligence-sharing arrangements with British and American organizations. It appears that, in response to such criticisms, Scottish civil servants have initiated contacts with intelligence experts abroad, in an attempt to replicate the intelligence-agency model of Nordic countries. Read more of this post

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Would UK, USA, share intel with independent Scottish spy agencies?

United Kingdom and IrelandBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Scotland plans to set up its own security and intelligence agencies if its people vote in favor of independence from the United Kingdom in 2014, according to policy planners. But critics contend that it might be some time before Scotland’s spy organizations are trusted by their sister intelligence agencies in Britain and the United States. The Scottish National Party (SNP) which won an absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament in the 2011 election, has put forward a plan for a referendum proposing Scotland’s full independence from the UK, to be held in late 2014. On Monday, the Scottish Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs met in Edinburgh to conduct an official inquiry into the possible foreign policy implications of an independent Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP’s Deputy Leader and Deputy First Minister of Scotland, told the Committee that an independent Scotland would have to build a domestic intelligence agency to combat security threats such as terrorism, organized crime and cyber attacks. She said the agency would serve the interests of the Scottish people and the Scottish government, but would maintain “very close intelligence sharing with the rest of the UK”. According to Sturgeon, given that Scotland shares “an island with the rest of the UK”, a Scottish domestic security service would inevitably find itself “sharing intelligence and sharing our response to some of these threats”. She also suggested that an independent nation of Scotland would have the option to establish an “external security service” modeled on Britain’s MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service. But Committee members opposed to independence directed heavy criticism against the minister’s plans, arguing that the financial cost of replicating existing UK intelligence and security structures would be colossal. They also warned Sturgeon that Scottish intelligence agencies would have to prove that they were reliable and safe before they struck intelligence-sharing arrangements with British and American organizations. Read more of this post

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