Parker said he was talking to the Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files and a consistent scepticism about the need for extra powers for the security services.
Parker said Russia still had plenty of intelligence officers on the ground in the UK, but what was different now from the days of the cold war was the advent of cyberwarfare. Russian targets include military secrets, industrial projects, economic information and government and foreign policy.
“It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across #Europe and in the UK today. It is MI5’s job to get in the way of that.”
In the first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service’s 107-year history, Andrew Parker said that at a time when much of the focus was on Islamic extremism, covert action from other countries was a growing danger. Most prominent was Russia.
Russia poses an increasing threat to the stability of the UK and is using all the sophisticated tools at its disposal to achieve its aims, the director general of MI5 has told the Guardian.