Former Mi6 Chief: We are facing bigger threats than Chinese balloons | Alex Younger

Former Chief of MI6 Sir Alex Younger has told Times Radio that alleged Chinese spy balloons in US airspace were “not a look look” but says the cyber threat posed by Beijing is greater.

Speaking to John Pienaar on Drive for an interview due to be broadcast at 5pm this afternoon, Sir Alex Younger said: “I think particularly in this instance, we need to look at it in the context of all of the things that states get up to and China can do. I question that this is particularly significant in the context of all the other collection that will be taking place. Its visible.

The thing that we are have all been focused on for years is the cyber threat. The threat that comes from the sort of Internet and other cyber connectivity. And that, I think, is normally underestimated because you can’t see it. This is something that’s literally visible, and therefore seems to attract a completely different reaction.” And John asked whether the balloons were an ’embarrassment’ as a strategic weapon: “It’s not a good look. They’re presenting themselves to the non-aligned world as guardians of the sovereignty of developing nations, and this just is just a very different message.”

And he had this to say about China’s penetration into UK Universities: “I think that we need to remember that free speech is free speech. It is the thing that’s made us strong. It’s the thing that is the difference between us and our authoritarian counterparts. How ironic would it be if we allowed extra territorial restriction of free speech in our country?

Quite apart from the sort of covert disinformation possibilities that exist. We need to wise up to all of this stuff.” On whether the UK should send fighter jets to Ukraine: “I am saying that in principle this needs to be finished on our terms, and that we should not allow ourselves to be inhibited by the threats issued by Vladimir Putin.

I do respect the technical argument that it would take a long time to get these these weapon systems into operation. I’m not I’m not an Air Force officer, I can’t honestly tell you whether that’s a really significant constraint or not. But clearly, we need to be practical about this.”

John then asks him if he agrees that the UK should be send as many jets as possible and as quickly as possible and he replies with “Yes, absolutely”.




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Former Mi6 Chief: We are facing bigger threats than Chinese balloons | Alex Younger | | Our lives improve only when we take chances — and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves ~ Walter Anderson


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