The Intelligence and Security Committee's long awaited 'Russia Report' into Russian state interference in the UK has been published today, after a significant delay and growing political pressure. The report finds that the UK is a 'top target' for Russia in the West.
Where there is no smoking gun to suggest that Russian interference has had a significant impact on our democratic process, the authors accused successive governments of welcoming Russian oligarchs with connections to state apparatus with 'open arms' - without doing proper due diligence.
The report called for 'immediate action' to support the intelligence services in combating Russian interference.
Downing Street was accused of delaying the release of the report ahead of the 2019 general election, which it denies. The Intelligence and Security Committee criticised the government for using its influence to delay the publication of the report.
Speaking at the report's launch press conference, Kevan Jones - one of the report's authors - criticised the prime minister for holding the report back, saying there was "no reason for delay".
The inquiry covered areas including the 2016 EU referendum, disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks, and the role of Russian oligarchs in furthering the Kremlin's foreign policy objectives. Some of the details in the report are considered to be 'highly sensitive', and will be held back on national security grounds.
Stewart Hosie, a report author and member of the committee, told reporters:
There has been no assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum and this goes back to nobody wanting to touch the issue with a 10-foot pole.
This is in stark contrast to the US response to reported interference in the 2016 presidential election.
There should have been an assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum and there must now be one, and the public must be told the results of that assessment.
Responding to the report, Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy MP said:
“It is extraordinary that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, took the political decision last October ahead of the General Election to block the publication of this important report that systematically goes through the threat Russia poses to the UK’s national security.
“The report is very clear that the Government has underestimated the response required to Russia and it is imperative we learn the lessons from the mistakes that have been made.
“The Labour Party calls on the Government to study the conclusions of the report carefully and take the necessary steps to keep our country safe.”
You can find the full report into Russian interference here.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS