LONDON (AFP): The British public now needs to be as alert to covert infiltration by hostile countries as it is to terror threats, the head of the MI5 intelligence agency said Wednesday.
Ken McCallum warned that it is wrong to believe that other nations represent only a threat to the UK government, organisations or high-profile individuals.
Over the past five years, “we have seen over 10,000 disguised approaches from foreign spies to regular people in the UK, seeking to manipulate them”, he said in an annual speech.
“We see the UK’s brilliant universities and researchers having their discoveries stolen or copied; we see businesses hollowed out by the loss of advantage they’ve worked painstakingly to build.
“Given half a chance, hostile actors will short-circuit years of patient British research or investment. This is happening at scale. And it affects us all: UK jobs, UK public services, UK futures.”