Emergency Briefing Defence and Security: Alex Thomson

Building on his experience of what went right and wrong in the years when he was a GCHQ officer, Alex Thomson has reflected on how British intelligence has performed since the Second World War and presents his outline findings in this talk.

He sketches what security is supposed to mean and how it is now used; what the traditional strengths of British intelligence have been versus the traditional strengths of Continental intelligence agencies; how we came to join our signals intelligence effort with those of the Americans and Commonwealth; how the approaches of that “Five Eyes” electronic effort have degenerated into bulk data collection; which non-Allied powers are secretly hanging on to that world-encompassing effort; how the security and intelligence protection of British forces has suffered, even as it is claimed to be top priority; and how a series of memoirs by brilliant but still naïve British intelligence geniuses has revealed that corporations and foreign powers have effectively turned British security and intelligence into their private domain.