/em"uy'fuyv"/, n. (in Great Britain)
the government's security and counterespionage service that works in liaison with Scotland Yard's Special Branch.
[M(ilitary) I(ntelligence, Section) 5]

* * *

in full Military Intelligence (Unit 5)

British Security Service.

Originally organized in 1909 to counter German espionage, in 1931 it assumed wider responsibility for assessing threats to national security, including communist subversion and subsequently fascism. Today the Security Service Act (1989) forms its statutory basis. As Britain's domestic-security intelligence agency, its purpose is to protect the country against threats such as terrorism, espionage, and subversion. Since the passing of the Security Service Act (1996), its role has been expanded to include supporting law-enforcement agencies in the field of organized crime.

* * *

▪ British government
formally  Security Service 

       intelligence agency charged with internal security and domestic counterintelligence activities of the United Kingdom. It is authorized to investigate any person or movement that might threaten the country's security. Although MI5 is responsible for domestic counterespionage, it has no powers of arrest, which devolve instead on Scotland Yard.

      MI5's earliest antecedent was a secret service formed in 1569 by Sir Francis Walsingham (Walsingham, Sir Francis), who later became secretary of state to Elizabeth I. In the early 20th century it was realized that some form of centralized control of intelligence functions was necessary. MI5 was formed in 1909 under the leadership of Vernon Kell, then a captain in the British army, to identify and counteract German spies then working in Britain, which it did with great effect. Kell retired as a major general in 1924 and was later knighted but remained in charge of the agency until 1940. (The name “MI5” originated during this period, when the agency was “section five” of military intelligence.)

      MI5 enjoyed great success during World War II, but its record during the Cold War was mixed. Widely publicized blunders during that period—e.g., the Soviet Union was found to have deeply penetrated both MI5 and MI6, the agency responsible for foreign intelligence—undermined confidence in MI5. A secretive organization, it first publicly named its head in 1991. At that time it also made public some previously classified information, such as the number of its employees and its organizational structure. Counterterrorism operations account for much of MI5's activities. MI5 reports to the Home Office.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MI5 — [ˌem aı ˈfaıv] n a secret British government organization whose job it is to keep Britain safe from attack by enemies inside the country, such as foreign spies or ↑terrorists ▪ a government agent working for MI5 …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • MI5 — 1939, from abbreviation of Military Intelligence, followed by the department number …   Etymology dictionary

  • MI5 — (Military Intelligence 5) n. military intelligence unit …   English contemporary dictionary

  • MI5 — ► ABBREVIATION ▪ Military Intelligence section 5, the former name for the UK governmental agency responsible for internal security and counter intelligence on British territory (now officially named the Security Service) …   English terms dictionary

  • MI5 — For other uses, see MI 5 (disambiguation). Not to be confused with the Secret Intelligence Service ( MI6 ). The Security Service MI5 MI5 Logo …   Wikipedia

  • MI5 — Logo des MI5 MI5 (offizieller Name: Security Service) ist der britische Inlandsgeheimdienst. Leiter von MI5 ist seit dem 22. April 2007 Generaldirektor Jonathan Evans. MI5 steht für „Military Intelligence, Section Five“. Sein Auftrag besteht aus… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • MI5 — Security Service « MI 5 » redirige ici. Pour la série télévisée, voir MI 5 (série télévisée) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • MI5 — Логотип агентства MI5 (МИ5); официально Служба безопасности (англ. Security Service)  государственное ведомство британской контрразведки, осуще …   Википедия

  • MI5(g) — The MI5(g), or the MI5 G section, was a branch of the MI5 that was formed during World War I to address the war time espionage operation by the Indian revolutionary movement in Europe.Harvnb|Popplewell|1995|p=219] The department arose by renaming …   Wikipedia

  • MI5 — /em uy fuyv /, n. (in Great Britain) the government s security and counterespionage service that works in liaison with Scotland Yard s Special Branch. [M(ilitary) I(ntelligence, Section) 5] * * * MI5 noun Security Service • • • Main Entry: ↑MI *… …   Useful english dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”