MI5 has expanded fast, particularly into the regions. New offices were opened in the South East and Wales in 2006/7 – and by 2008, regional stations will house three times the number of staff originally planned, the report reveals.The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) – or, to use its more popular name, MI6 – grew at a rate of 3.6% in the last year compared to nearly 30% for MI5, but it has still been undergoing significant changes.
In its broadest definition, counter-terrorism now takes up 56% of MI6’s work and that figure is rising.
The committee also looked at the issue of whether the government was justified in saying that there were real national security considerations when it came to halting the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into BAE Systems’ dealings with Saudi Arabia. Sir John told the committee that if Saudi Arabia had carried out a threat to withdraw counter-terrorist co-operation the results would be serious since it was a ‘an absolutely key country’, although the government declined to show the committee one note from the prime minister on the subject.
The government’s eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, has also been put under pressure with resources increasingly devoted to supporting MI5 operations. Making sure its resources keep pace has not always been easy.
Ooh, regional expansion, so kind of London centric England to give us the chance for more of this. And the spooks are pissed the media is leaked to, by whom though? This creates pressure from them to the government for more state control of the media, nice little circular grift that. Just how believable and independent of political interference are these cloak & dagger merchants…they support the government’s blocking of the fraud investigation of the BAE/Saudi/govt deals/bribes. Apart from y’know, promoting and rewarding the liars of Iraq, still, who wants to end up like David Kelly?