Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) published a report on the Russian threat to the UK on Tuesday, here are its conclusions.
What did it say?
- UK is clearly a target for Russian disinformation. Russia considers the UK one of its top western intelligence targets.
- Russian influence in the UK is the new normal.
- Russia’s cyber capability is a matter of grave concern and poses an immediate and urgent threat to the UK’s national security.
- There was credible open source commentary suggesting that Russia undertook influence campaigns in relation to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
- The UK intelligence community should produce an assessment of potential Russian interference in the 2016 EU referendum, and that an unclassified summary of it should be published. The report is redacted when discussing the domestic intelligence agency MI5’s response on EU referendum meddling.
- That the UK has been viewed as a particularly favourable destination for Russian oligarchs and their money, and that welcoming such oligarchs allowed illicit finance to be recycled through what has been referred to as the London ‘laundromat’.
- There is a growth industry of ‘enablers’ including lawyers, accountants, and estate agents who are – wittingly or unwittingly – de facto agents of the Russian state.
What is the ISC?
The committee is made up of lawmakers and scrutinises the work of Britain’s intelligence agencies.
What is the Russia report?
The findings are based on evidence gathered from ministers, heads of intelligence agencies, other officials and external experts. Much of this evidence and parts of the report itself were redacted in the published version. It also considered material in the public domain.
The report has taken a long time to be published. It was sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in October 2019, but its publication was delayed by a general election and the process of putting together a new committee afterwards.