Intelligence is in government operations, evaluatedinformation concerning such things as the strength, activities, and probablecourses of action of other nations who are usually, but not necessarily,opponents. In a world of sovereign nations, information is a prime element ofnational power, and intelligence is the vital and often pivotal foundation fornational decisions.
Ina world in revolutionary ferment, the authentic intelligence officer occupiesthe centre of great debates over national security policy. At issue in most ofthe debates are questions of power, probability, and time. A prime task of themodem professional intelligence officer, military or civilian, is to try toanswer questions for the policymaker about power and about behaviourprobabilities, within a time scale. For a chief of state trying to decide aquestion about nuclear armaments, for example, an ideal intelligence systemwould provide precise knowledge of a potential enemy's power, the probabilityof that enemy's behaviour or reaction in given contingencies, and a timeschedule for the most likely sequence of events.
Theseare basic problems for all intelligence services. Information as to how theseservices address their problems is highly uneven. More is generally known aboutthe U.S. system than any other, a good deal about that of the old Soviet Union,and comparatively less about other systems. Intelligence systems follow threegeneral models: the U.S., which was followed by former West Germany, Japan,South Korea, and other nations that came under U.S. influence after World WarII; the old Soviet, which was imitated in large measure by mostcommunist-governed nations; and the British, on which were patterned thesystems of most nations with true parliamentary governments.
British intelligence was organized along modem lines as earlyas the days of Queen Elizabeth I, and the long British experience hasinfluenced the structure of most other systems. Unlike those of the UnitedStates and the old Soviet Union, British intelligence agencies have preservedthrough most of their history a high degree of secrecy concerning theirorganization and operations. Even so, Britain has suffered from large number ofnative spies within the intelligence establishment.
The two principal British intelligence agencies are theSecret Intelligence Service (SIS; also known by its wartime designation, MI-6)and the Security Service (commonly called MI-5). The labels derive from thefact that the Secret Intelligence Service was once «section six» ofmilitary intelligence and the Security Service, «section five.»MI-6
MI-6is the formally Secret Intelligence Service, British government agencyresponsible for the collection, analysis, and appropriate dissemination offoreign intelligence. MI-6 is responsible for the conduct of espionageactivities outside British territory.
The Intelligence Services Act 1994defines the role of MI6 as “a) to obtain and provide information relating tothe actions or intentions of persons outside the British Islands; and<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-bidi-font-family:«Courier New»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">b) to perform other tasks relating to the actions or intentions of such persons...[in relation to]<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-bidi-font-family: «Courier New»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">the interests of national security, with particular reference to defence and foreign policies...the interests of the economic well-being of the UK...or in support of the prevention or detection of serious crime.”
MI-6has existed, in various forms since the establishment of a secret service in1569 by Sir Francis Walsingham, who became secretary of state to QueenElizabeth I. It was constituted in its present form by Commander (later Sir)Mansfield Cumming in 1912 as World War I approached. In the 1930s and 1940s itwas considered the most effective intelligence service in the world. During therise of Nazi Germany, MI-6 conducted espionage operations in Europe, LatinAmerica, and much of Asia. (The «MI-6» label developed during thisperiod because it was then «section six» of «militaryintelligence.»)
Whenthe United States entered World War II, the British agency helped trainpersonnel of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services and has since cooperatedwith the successor Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The revelation in themid-1950s that MI-6 had been penetrated by British double agents who had servedthe Soviet Union since the 1930s stirred wide public consternation. Details ofMI-6 operations and relationships seldom appear in the British press. Theagency has the power to censor such stories through the use of «D»notices under the Official Secrets Act. MI-6 reports to the Foreign Office.
Another branch of British intelligence system isMI-5.
MI-5is the formally Security Service, intelligence agency charged with internalsecurity and domestic counterintelligence activities of the United Kingdom. Itis authorized to investigate any person or movement that might threaten thenation's security.
MI-5's earliest antecedent was a secret service formed in 1569 bySir Francis Walsingham, who later became secretary of state to Elizabeth I. Theneed for centralized control of intelligence functions was first expressedearly in the 20th century. MI-5 was formed in 1909 to identify and counterGerman spies then working in Britain, which it did with great effect. It wasplaced under the command of Vernon Kell, then a captain in the British army.Kell retired as a major general in 1924 and was later knighted, but remained incharge the agency until 1940. (The «MI-5» label developed during thisperiod because it was then «section five» of «militaryintelligence.») The Security Service makes no direct arrests but ratherworks secretly behind the more publicized «Special Branch» ofScotland Yard. The director of the Security Service reports to the prime ministerthrough the home secretary.
Undoubtedly,the successful activity of different organizations depends on their leaders.For example, the boss of MI-5 during the most successful years of its work wasan extraordinary person, a woman of a great spirit Dame Stella Rimington.Dame Stella Rimington <table cellpadding=«0» "> Former Director General of MI5
Stella Rimington was the first woman to lead MI5, the first to be invested as a Dame for her services to national security. She has broken the code of absolute discretion that is meant to bind senior public servants together.
The woman who was to become Britain's most famous female security officer was born in South Norwood, London, in 1935. She was an only child. Her father was a mechnical engineer. Her most vivid memories of childhood are of being bombed.
She was educated at Nottingham High School for Girls, and Edinburgh University. On graduation, she became an archivist, a job that she never saw as a serious career. She was in love with John Rimington, the man who would become her husband. She met him on the school bus when she was 17. Soon they lost touch, but met up again in Edinburgh.
The couple married in 1963. He was by then a civil servant and in 1965 was posted to the British High Commission in New Delhi and she became a dutiful diplomatic wife. She took an active part in amateur dramatics, but not much else. Then, in 1969, much to her surprise, the local MI5 man asked, if she would help out as an assistant. As a bored housewife without children, she jumped at the chance.
Fifteen years later, she was separated from her husband, had two children and was, according to one former colleague, «a promising mid-level officer. She was solid, but not dazzling». But MI5 was to be radically shaken up during the Eighties, and Stella Rimington benefitted from the decision to find «new blood» to run the organisation. She was given the difficult field of counter-subversion, in which she was extremely successful. She was promoted to Director of Counter-intelligence, then to being deputy Director General, in charge of operations, and then, finally, in 1992, to head the organisation.
As part of the new, post-Cold War «openness», Stella Rimington was the first Director General to be publicly named. The publicity was not without problems because The Sunday Times identified her home address. It was a pointlessly cruel piece of journalism, causing her immense inconvenience as she and her daughters had to move instantly from a neighbourhood they liked to somewhere they didn't. She felt angry, both at The Sunday Times and what she considered the lack of help from official quarters.
A year ago Dame Stella wrote a book about her tenure as Director General of MI5, thought there are a lot of people in the Government who wish she wouldn’t.
Why has she done it? Money could be one reason. She has a decent pension from MI5, a couple of non-executive directorships, including one at Marks & Spencer, but those are small beer compared to the six figure sum she could expect for her «autobiography of a spook». Yet some of those who know her doubt that she would stoop so low as to sell her country's secrets for personal gain.
Many of her colleagues think that she has another motive: vanity. Stella Rimington used to be a very important person. Now she isn't. It's painful and she just wants to be back in the limelight.
But on the other hand there are no reasons to worry about. Stella Rimington was a brilliant woman, so we will remember her forever.
Besides, not long afterwards, she was immortalized as James Bond's new boss in Golden eye. James Bond worked, of course, for MI6, not MI5, but everyone assumed that Dame Judi Dench, who starred in the role, was playing Stella Rimington — including Dame Stella herself who found the portrayal «quite startling”.