The UK government is “playing catch-up” when it comes to tackling Russian interference in elections, says the Intelligence and Security Committee.
The ISC’s long-awaited report said Russian influence in the UK was “the new normal” and called for “immediate action” to help tackle the threat.
But the committee said the govt “actively avoided” trying to find interference during the EU referendum.It also said there was “no reason” for the report’s publication to be delayed.
Downing Street was accused of holding back the committee’s report before December’s UK election – which it’s denied.
But speaking at a news conference to launch the report, one among the ISC’s committee members, Kevan Jones, criticized the prime minister for not signing it off sooner, saying there was “no reason for delay”.
The ISC’s inquiry covers a variety of topics, including disinformation campaigns, cyber tactics, and Russian expatriates within the UK – saying the united kingdom was a “top target” for the state.
But much of the “highly sensitive” detail won’t be published thanks to fears Russia could use the evidence to threaten the united kingdom .
The report said the united kingdom was “clearly a target” for disinformation campaigns around its elections, but the difficulty was described as a “hot potato” – with nobody organization taking a cause to tackle it.
ISC member Stewart Hosie said no-one in Government wanted to touch the difficulty of Russian interference with a “10-foot pole” and no-one knew if Russia had tried to interfere with the 2016 EU referendum “because they didn’t want to know”.
Mr Hosie told reporters: “There has been no assessment of Russian interference within the EU referendum and this goes back to nobody eager to touch the difficulty with a 10-foot pole.
“This is in stark contrast to the US response to reported interference within the 2016 presidential election.
“There should are an assessment of Russian interference within the EU referendum and there must now be one, and therefore the public must be told the results of that assessment.”
His committee colleague Mr. Jones also said the government had “let us down” by not looking for any interference in 2014’s Scottish independence referendum.
Source: bbc news