Theresa May will chair a meeting to discuss the issue.
“CYBER-WARFARE: Putin launches ‘propaganda campaign’ against Britain, officials claim.”
Express, 17 Dec 2016:
RUSSIA is engaged in a “campaign” of propaganda and cyber-warfare against Britain, Government officials have acknowledged for the first time. British officials are concerned about growing Russian influence on UK institutions. Theresa May will chair a National Security Council session within weeks to discuss the issue after senior Whitehall figures claimed the Kremlin is responsible for a plot to sabotage the UK with espionage and misinformation.
This comes after Barack Obama directly challenged Russia in an astonishing response to reports by US intelligence services claiming November’s general election was hacked under Vladimir Putin’s watch..
The outgoing President vowed the US would retaliate to the suspected espionage, and said the country would take action “at a time and place of our own choosing”.
He added: “Don’t do this stuff to us, because we can do this to you.”
US officials have expressed near-certainty Putin supervised the data breaches which brought Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to ruin.
One official said: “If anything, given his background as a KGB officer, Putin has a much tighter grip on all Russian surveillance operations, civilian and military, foreign and domestic, than any democratic leader does.”
And in a cabinet meeting two months ago, top intelligence officers and civil servant voiced worries the same scale of threat from Moscow could extend to Britain.
A source told the Times: “There was an agreement on the need to do more across Whitehall to understand and assess and formulate options on how to reposed to Russian activities.”
Security services fear British institutions and companies have been infiltrated by Russian agents – some of whom could even be UK citizens.
And last night it was revealed several leading academics at Cambridge University left an intelligence forum following concerns over Russian interference.
The head of the armed forces earlier this week urged for counterintelligence efforts to be ramped up in an attempt to catch Russian cells.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said: “We need to pay more attention to counterespionage and counterintelligence to protect our hard-won research, protect our industry and protect our competitive advantage.”
The extent of Russian infiltration in Britain is believed to be more severe than during the Cold War.