London, Feb.9 (ANI): At least 20 foreign intelligence agencies, including agencies in France and Germany, are attempting to steal Britain's most sensitive secrets. Details of the spy plots were revealed in a government security document obtained by The Sunday Telegraph that states that Britain is "high priority espionage target" for 20 foreign intelligence agencies.
Russia and China have been identified as having the most active spy networks operating in the UK but it is understood that some European countries are also involved in espionage attacks against Britain.
Security sources have revealed that the list of foreign agencies operating within the UK includes Iran, Syria, North Korea and Serbia, as well as some members of the European Union, such as France and Germany, who have traditionally been regarded as allies.
The document, marked "restricted", warns that foreign spies are trying to steal secrets related to the military, optics, communications, genetics and aviation industries.
The report has been drawn up by an Army intelligence cell inside Whitehall, and warns that it is too easy to "lose sight" of the threat from traditional espionage and become solely focused on attacks by al Qaeda.
The document, which has been distributed to all government departments, states: "Whilst our primary threat would seem to come from International Terrorism, it is important that we do not lose sight of another omnipresent threat. Espionage against UK interests continues to come from many quarters."
"The UK is a high priority espionage target and a number of countries are actively seeking UK information and material to advance their own, military, technological, political and economic programmes," it further says.Patrick Mercer, the chairman of the House of Commons counter-terrorist subcommittee, said the document served as a warning to Britain that the Cold War espionage threat had not gone away.
"Britain is at the forefront of many cutting edge technologies and these are extremely attractive to lots of other countries, some of whom may actually be our allies. This serves as a timely reminder that our counter-intelligence assets must not be solely concentrated on countries with a traditional track record of espionage against us," he said. (ANI)