MI5 Director in rare public interview
January 8, 2009 1 Comment
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The head of MI5, Britain’s foremost counterintelligence agency, has given the first public interview of an MI5 serving Director General in the organization’s 100-year history. Jonathan Evans, who became Director General of MI5 last April, answered questions in a face-to-face interview, on January 6, with a carefully selected group of security correspondents representing a handful of British media outlets. Among other things, Evans confirmed that al-Qaeda’s Pakistan-based leaders are actively trying to recruit British-born Muslims to stage attacks inside the UK. He estimated at “around 2,000” the number of individuals in Britain who are actively involved in such efforts, with many more involved in “fundraising, helping people to travel to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. Sometimes they provide equipment, support and propaganda”, he said. On January 4, intelNews reported on revelations of “unprecedented intelligence-gathering operation[s] in Britain” by the CIA, which is reprinted to monitor over 4,000 individuals on the island. MI5 Director General Evans also pointed out during the interview that the agency expected the ongoing global financial crisis to “prompt […] a surge in economic espionage”. IntelNews has previously highlighted the controversial connection between intelligence agencies and financial espionage. The BBC’s security correspondent, Gordon Corera, marked the important event of Mr. Evans’ interview to publish a well-rounded primer on MI5’s history, which also touches on the recent changes that have been implemented in the agency in recent years.