MI5 head warns Europe against underestimating the Islamic State

MI5 Director General Parker speech in London

MI5 head warns Europe against underestimating the Islamic State

European intelligence cooperation today is simply unrecognisable to what it looked like five years ago, Mr Parker will say, the first time a serving Director General of MI5 has spoken publicly outside the UK.

Britain suffered four deadly militant attacks previous year - a suicide bombing at a Manchester pop concert and an attack on London Bridge.

The UK, as Europe's preeminent intelligence power, is seeking a new security pact with the bloc to ensure it gets continued access to secrets from major European Union countries as it seeks to clinch a broader Brexit deal.

Speaking ahead of the May 22 anniversary of the Manchester bombing, Parker said that 12 plots had been thwarted since the Westminster attack, bringing the total number of disrupted attacks since 2013 to 25.

And Russia, he says is trying to carry out "aggressive and pernicious actions" with its military and intelligence services.

"Instead of becoming a respected great nation it risks becoming a more isolated pariah", Parker said.

Russia has denied any involvement in the attack and has challenged Britain to reveal evidence to back up its claim that the Russian state was likely behind it.

Mr Parker condemned the "reckless" attack, saying it put "numerous" lives at risk.

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Skripal, 66, remains in hospital following the attack in the Wiltshire city on March 4.

Mr Parker also warns that despite territorial losses, Islamic State is still capable of carrying out "complex and devastating" attacks against the West.

Mr Parker did not single out specific sources but the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom has repeatedly issued statements and tweets disputing Britain's allegations about the attack.

Russian Federation is seeking to undermine European democracies and sow doubt in the West through malign activities and a "fog of lies", the head of Britain's domestic spy agency has told European intelligence chiefs.

Germany's domestic intelligence chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, said his agency, known as BfV, blames Russian authorities for orchestrating a persistent cyberattack aimed at stealing sensitive data so it can be used in future intelligence campaigns, such as what happened with the Democratic National Committee emails leaked during the 2016 USA presidential election campaign.

"Bare-faced lying seems to be the default mode, coupled with ridicule of critics", he argued.

"The Russian state's now well-practised doctrine of blending media manipulation, social media disinformation and distortion along with new and old forms of espionage, and high-levels of cyber attacks, military force and criminal thuggery is what is meant these days by the term hybrid threats".

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