Counter-terror focus leaves British spies out in the cold: report

Directing much-needed resources into counter-terror measures has meant that Britain's spies are taking more risks, a Parliamentary intelligence committee report has found.

The Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee said that as a result of the "greater threats and challenges" posed by terrorists, efforts had focused in this direction to the detriment of intelligence work being done elsewhere.

After the intelligence committee's 'Annual Report 2003-2004' was laid before Parliament today, committee chairman Ann Taylor - whilst acknowledging that it had been an "extremely difficult year" - said that "other important work is not being carried out as fully as Ministers and the Agencies

themselves would wish".

More work also needed to be done to identify the vulnerabilities of the UK's critical national infrastructure to electronic attack, Ms Taylor said.

However, the committee commended the British intelligence community for continuing to identify, monitor, report and disrupt threats to the UK and its interests.

Obtaining Libya's commitment to disband its weapons of mass destruction was highlighted as a major intelligence success for SIS – MI6 and MI5 – which saw effective cooperation with their US counterparts, the CIA, and the Foreign Office.

The formation of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has also been a success because it effectively brought together the UK's counter-terrorism expertise in one place, Ms Taylor added.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

10 March 2005
British agents 'not sufficiently well trained' for terror investigations
British intelligence personnel deployed to Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq were "not sufficiently well trained" on the Geneva Conventions, a report has found. The report, by the Intelligence and Security Committee, follows an inquiry into the handling of detainees by UK intelligence personnel.
12 September 2003
Dyke called to give evidence at Hutton Inquiry
BBC Director General Greg Dyke has been called to give evidence in the second phase of the Hutton Inquiry into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly. Mr Dyke is one of a new batch of witnesses called to give evidence at the inquiry, which recommences on Monday, September 15.
14 July 2004
Intelligence errors were made in good faith, Butler inquiry finds
Strains, oversights and systems failures, but not individual mendacity nor political pressure, lay at the heart of intelligence failings in the run up to war in Iraq, Lord Butler's inquiry has concluded.
03 October 2014
Alex Younger Appointed Chief Of The Secret Intelligence Service
Alex Younger has been appointed as the next Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), the Foreign Secretary has announced. He been appointed as successor to Sir John Sawers as Chief of the SIS. Alex will take up his appointment next month.
25 June 2013
Liberty Issues Claims Against The British Intelligence Services
Human rights group Liberty has announced it has issued a claim against the British Intelligence Services over their suspected involvement in the PRISM and Project Tempora privacy scandal.