Sunday, September 4, 2011

Security Service (MI-5)


The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 (Military Intelligence, Section 5), is the United Kingdom's counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of the intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS). All come under the direction of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). The service has a statutory basis in the Security Service Act 1989 and the Intelligence Services Act 1994. Its remit includes the protection of British parliamentary democracy and economic interests, counter-terrorism and counter-espionage within the UK. Although mainly concerned with internal security, it does have an overseas role in support of its mission. Conversely, to ensure that the Home Secretary is responsible for intelligence operations within the UK, the Service may act on behalf of SIS and GCHQ[citation needed] even if the operation is outside its own functions (SIS and GCHQ report to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs).


The service has had a national headquarters at Thames House on Millbank in London since 1995, drawing together personnel from a number of locations into a single HQ facility. Thames House is shared with the Northern Ireland Office and is also home to the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, a subordinate organisation to the Security Service. The service has nine offices across the United Kingdom including an HQ in Northern Ireland, and it is claimed that one is to be in Glasgow. Within the civil service community the service is colloquially known as Box 500 (after its official wartime address of PO Box 500; its current address is PO Box 3255, London SW1P 1AE).One is also in Greater Manchester. It was accidentally revealed by the firm who built it.Repeated claims that the regional offices were instigated as a result of the "7/7" bombings in London in July 2005 are inaccurate, since the Manchester Evening News announced the plan to open the local office in February 2005.

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