New head of MI5 Ken McCallum: top priority seize opportunities provided by technology including AI
The UK Government has appointed MI5 veteran Ken McCallum as the new director-general of the MI5 domestic intelligence agency. One of McCallum’s top priorities is enabling the agency to seize the fast-moving opportunities provided by technology, including AI and machine learning, according to a MI5 sttament.
McCallum led the response to the attempted murder of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal. He takes over from Sir Andrew Parker, who is going to retires in April having been in charge of the British intelligence agency since 2013.
Parker said he is “the right person to take MI5 forward” as the country “deals with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic”.
In 2017, McCallum was appointed deputy director-general of MI5.
Originally from Glasgow, McCallum has a degree in Mathematics from Glasgow University. He spent his first years at the agency working on IRA-related terrorism and later focused on countering Islamist extremist terrorism.
“Having devoted my working life to that team effort, it is a huge privilege now to be asked to lead it,” he said.
Since the 9/11 attacks, terrorism has dominated MI5’s agenda, but that threat is now diversifying – with an increase in far-right activity, which the intelligence agency has now begun to monitor.
MI5, established in 1909 to counter German espionage ahead of World War I, is the agency tasked with protecting British national security.
The agency currently employs about 4,000 people.