The United Kingdom
Throughout the long history of the development of a UK CT intelligence capability, there has never been, apart from the two World Wars, a more intense, dynamic, and challenging era than the current one. The end of the Cold War had a profound effect on the UK intelligence agencies and, in particular, on MI5. Substantial changes to the service’s role and the way it did business were already under way by 9/11, but in the aftermath of those attacks, the changes have been of a greater magnitude and are far more profound than anyone could have predicted.
These changes are being made across the board and are not concentrated just on MI5 or on all the intelligence agencies and the police. They go to the heart of the machinery of government that has been in place in the UK for decades. Foremost among the changes was the May 2007 removal from the Home Office of a range of criminal justice– related responsibilities and their transfer to the new Ministry of Justice. Consequently, the restructured Home Office is now more focused than before on its core functions of policing, intelligence gathering, CT, and preventing and controlling crime, immigration, and asylum. A new department, the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), oversees these functions. In many respects, the Home Office is now more akin to a “Ministry of the Interior” along continental European lines. Its key role as the lead government department on CT in the UK is emphasized by the fact that the head of the OSCT is now a civil servant at the director-general level; the rank of the Security, Intelligence, and Resilience Coordinator in the Cabinet Office has been downgraded to below that of permanent secretary (Gregory, 2007).