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Terrorism and National Security: Proportion or Distortion?
A lecture by Sir Richard Dearlove KCMG OBE, Master, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge and former Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).
Countering the threat of terrorism since 9/11 has greatly altered the nature, size and deployment of the British intelligence and security community. Has the response been proportionate to the threat, or has the domestic political pressure which the threat can generate distorted our national security priorities? Recent events in Ukraine have provided a strong reminder of the importance of keeping a balance in how we use our scarce national security assets.
As the radical Islamist threat morphs into a full-scale war across two Middle Eastern countries, has the time come to recast our thinking about Al-Qaeda and counter-terrorism and adopt a more traditional nation state approach to our intelligence requirements? Ten years on from his retirement as Chief of SIS, Sir Richard Dearlove offered his reflections on the changing face of national security.
Sir Richard Dearlove KCMG OBE is currently the Master of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. His tenure at Pembroke is now in its ninth year. He previously served as Chief (known as ‘C’) of SIS from August 1999 until his retirement in July 2004. For the preceding five years he was Director of Operations and, from 1998, Assistant Chief. As Director of Finance, Administration and Personnel he also oversaw the move of SIS into its headquarter building at Vauxhall Cross in 1994. He is a career intelligence officer of thirty-eight years standing and has served in Nairobi, Prague, Paris, Geneva and Washington, as well as in a number of key London-based posts. He is a Trustee of Kent School, Connecticut, Honorary Fellow of Queens’ College Cambridge, Senior Adviser to several international companies, including the revamped AIG, Chairman of Ascot Underwriting and a Director of Kosmos Energy.