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MI5/Security Service[edit]

I suggest most of the inter-war section needs to be removed as tendentious, inaccurate, confused and not relevant to the sub-heading. Sounds as if someone is riding a hobby-horse As a relative newcomer to Wikipedia, what would be the reaction if I cut out the fairly substantial bad bits?

not denied[edit]

"It has also been reported (and not denied) that Security Service officers have been involved in interrogations of British terrorism suspects interned at the United States' military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and perhaps also Diego Garcia." - The British government has a policy never to confirm or deny anything connected with the security services. Therefore the fact that they've not denied it isn't interesting. Secretlondon 8 July 2005 17:26 (UTC)

Something to note is that if something is true then the government and its agencies can have the relevant media splapped with a decree stopping publication, however if the information is false (Diana theories etc) then they have no power to stop publication as no state secrets are being revealed. Silveralex 24 July 2005

MI5's remit[edit]

Clarification for Lapsed Pacifist, Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales. It does not include Northern Ireland, therefore MI5's anti-terrorist remit only covers the mainland; the RUC and now PSNI head up all anti-terrorist activity in NI though they can request aid if needed or inclined. This will change thankfully in 2007. The unionist paramilitary groups by their very nature have no intention of causing major terrorist attacks on the mainland unlike the republican paramilitary groups and so MI5 is unlikely to get too involved other than to frustrate their attempts to gather money and materials via the mainland. - Silveralex 00:18 Jul 25, 2005


Lapsed Pacifist 23:31, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Lapsed Pacifist and have submitted an edit. "unlikely to get too involved" sounds more like speculation than a statement of fact. Further, the term "unionist paramilitary" violates NPOV. "loyalist paramilitary" is the generally accepted unbiased term for the groups you mention.

-- Anon

You have actually removed all of the paragraph that Lapsed Pacifist had put in on the 20th of June that I was unhappy with. The term unionist paramilitary groups was included in this. The fact that it violates NPOV is of no surprise given the general tone of the whole entry. Have just looked at Lapsed Pacifists discussion page and it shows a high level of POV edits happening regarding Northern Ireland. Silveralex Jul 25, 2005

"unionist paramilitary groups"[edit]

The "unionist paramilitary groups" term is a phrase that I'm pretty sure has been brought into the political lexicon in NI due to a sustained effort by Sinn Fein. I'd never dispute that the paramilitary groups in question are associated with unionism, but the fact remains that the term is associated with one political party. In Northern Ireland, the terms "loyalist" and "republican" are generally used to describe those who are more militant, whereas "nationalist" and "unionist" describe groups which are less so. For that reason the term "nationalist paramilitaries" would be equally un-NPOV. We should be sticking with the generally accepted accurate terminology, not borrowing the phraseology of a particular political movement.

To state "MI5 aren't involved in NI" cannot have basis, since it hardly seems likely that the nature of MI5 would allow it to publicize such information in the first place. Who knows what investigations they have planned, or are presently planning ? It is factually correct on the other hand to state that MI5's remit is GB, however the tone used that the British security services are not interested in the acts of loyalist paramilitaries is decidedly un-NPOV.

Throughout the article the term republican terrorists is used and so I agree that the term loyalist must be used for the other side.

It is very un-NPOV to claim things you have no evidence for. If you have any evidence that MI5 are acting out of their remit I'm sure the intelligence watchdog Intelligence and Security Committee and the PSNI would love to hear from you. Silveralex 26/07/2005

Last time the P.S.N.I. had evidence of misdemeanours they burnt it.So I cant see the point.

Loyalists and the status quo[edit]

"MI5 do not tackle Loyalist paramilitary groups, such as the UDA, UVF and LVF, with as many resources, as most of their activities are confined to Northern Ireland and they are no threat to the political status quo."

Why do you think that loyalists, still armed and active, are no threat to the status quo ?

Is it truly NPOV to imply, as you have, that the reason why MI5 don't chase loyalists is for politial reasons ?

I think you'll find that Lapsed Pacifist repeatedly puts in NPOV statements in as many areas as he can get away with, see his own talk page where you'll see he's been banned multiple times and questions raised. As he is on his last warning I think we can remove the NPOV statement without fear of a revert war on our hands. Silveralex 28/07/2005

I am not a regular contributor, and thus will not take it upon myself to edit the page, but I'd like to point out that the phrase "though MI5 had been waging a war of wits against republican paramilitary groups since the early 1970s. Republican sources have often accused MI5 of collusion with these groups. " is self-contradictory and misleading. The allegations is that MI5 has colluded with loyalists, or unionists or whatever term you choose. As stated, the article argues that MI5 has been waging a war against certain groups, who have also accused MI5 of colluding with themselves. This makes no sense whatsoever. "Republican" denotes the Catholic side of the divide, even if to some it's used to refer to the level of militancy. While I applaud efforts to keep thinks NPOV, making them incomprehensible in the process is of no use to anyone. I again am not editing the actual article, because I don't know if unionist, loyalist, or whatever else is the best term.

I'd also point out that the 1st of the 2 sentances I quoted is no longer a sentance.

MI5 Today[edit]

The main page is fascinating, I've added a link to a BBC News story on working for MI5. I just find the Wikipedia entry, very weighty. It's full of detail, but seems to me to be 'upside down'. There's lots of historical info, but what is MI5's function today? Much of that can be found on its own website: references to 'generalists' rather than agents or spies. In fact confusingly, an 'agent' in MI5 jargon is someone 'worked' by the service presumably for information gathering purposes. Also, the service employs linguists, IT specialists and admin staff - perhaps this article should make it clear that much of the service's work is routine and mundane - as far as I'm aware MI5 does NOT employ spies, MI6 does.

What I'm getting at, is that there are lots of facts about the service (on its own website), but as a reader I became lost in issues about whether or not the service functions in Ireland, and descriptions for all the outdated 'MI' departments.

Would it be better to work in a 'fact versus fiction' section at the top of the page, or have a current page and a historical page? The 'service' is a fast evolving organisation with on-going recruitment.

I'm new to Wikipedia, so I don't want to steam in and unravel someone's work, but as an individual working with words - for a living - I find this page hard going. Also the Special Branch (traditionally seen as MI5's foot soldiers, as 'service' staff don't have arrest powers) is being merged with the Met's anti-terrorist branch (who carry out a national function), so it will need updating at some point. --Escaper7 13:08, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Move to MI5[edit]

I suggest moving the page back to MI5, rather than Military Intelligence Section 5. Since the long version isn't even the official name anymore, and since it is almost always known as MI5, it makes sense to use this title. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (acronyms) says:

Avoid the use of acronyms in page naming unless the term you are naming is almost exclusively known only by its acronyms and is widely known and used in that form (NASA, SETI, and radar are good examples).

I believe that MI5 fits as an exception to the rule. Any objections to the move? ConDemTalk 00:25, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

The current title is ridiculous, MI5 is the one we should be using. Go ahead and move it. Skinnyweed 00:57, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
M15 > Security Service > Military Intelligence Section 5. Skinnyweed 00:57, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
DoneSierra 1 01:00, 21 May 2006 (UTC)


[ Moved to bottom for sanity purposes James F. (talk) 12:39, 5 June 2006 (UTC) ]

Considering that MI5 is an unofficial name, and taking into account that the MI6 page now is called SIS, should this page be changed to 'Security Service' to add uniformity. I'll change it later in the week if I get no response. Red7

It's website says "This is the official website of the Security Service, commonly known as MI5. The Service is ..." With MI5 in big white lettering.--Escaper7 11:58, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Granted, but thats part of the corporate branding now, if you read the FAQ is states clearly that the service is officially called the Security Service. Journo's and the media in general use MI5 granted, but they also use MI6 instead of SIS. I know it seems a bit of a non-issue, but basically we've got 2 pages about a very similar subject (MI5, SIS) that use different naming conventions, which could prove confusing for some people. Red7
Since everyone, including the service itself, refers to it as MI5, and since Security Service is already a disambig page, I think it should just be called MI5. It's already been changed back and forth, and we kinda settled on this one. See discussion below. ConDemTalk 16:50, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Heathrow Terrorist Plot...[edit]

There should be a section devoted to MI5's role in the recently-foiled terrorist attack.

Perhaps when we know exactly what the Security Service's role was, but that's not that likley is it? Escaper7 09:42, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
We have still to see any evidence that it was real and not just a "confession" and "anybody's name will do, please stop" under torture in Pakistan. We already had two public false alarms in the last 12 months and Reid claims to have "foiled" three more - but nothing yet that would stand up in court. Maybe this time it is for real, but there has been too much crying wolf. --Red King 19:34, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed section[edit]

I just reverted this bit of text added by Ali masharli.

MI5 refused to take action on radical cleric Abu Hamza for 4 years when given video and audio tapes by common wealth spy Glen Jenvey the tapes linked Abu Hamza to terror camps in America and a case was built by the FBI showing that MI5 were slow in dealing with islamic terrorism based in the UK. see real spy videos that could of helped stop the London bombings if MI5 had acted on the information.

If it's valid enough then it should be re-added, albeit with a bit of rewording/formatting. It seems to me a little POV?  Keithology  Talk!  20:27, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

MI Divisions[edit]

I've removed this lot as unrelated to BSS, possibly justify an article in their own right:

War Office Military Intelligence (MI) Sections in the First World War

MI1 (Secretariat)
MI1a (Distribution of reports, intelligence records.)
MI1b (Interception and cryptanalysis.)
MI1c (The Secret Service/SIS.)
MI1d (Communications security.)
MI1e (Wireless telegraphy.)
MI1f (Personnel and finance.)
MI1g (Security, deception and counter intelligence.)
MI2 (Geographical information)
MI2a (The Americas (less Canada), Spain, Portugal, Italy, Liberia Tangier and the Balkans.)
MI2b (Ottoman Empire, Trans-Caucasus, Arabia, Sinai, Abyssinia, North Africa less French and Spanish possesions, Egypt and The Sudan.)
MI3 (Geographical Information.)
MI3a (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Morocco.)
MI3b (Austria-Hungary and Switzerland.)
MI3c (Germany.)
MI3d (Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.)
MI3e (Military translations.)
MI4 (Topographical information and military maps)
MI5 (Counter-espionage and military policy in dealing with the civil population)
MI5a (Military policy on foreign workmen on war service.)
MI5b (Counter-espionage in British possessions overseas.)
MI5c (Civilian passenger traffic to and from UK and ports intelligence.)
MI5d (Military policy and civil population.)
MI5e (Counter-espionage special duties.)
MI5f (Military records of foreigners, misc duties.)
MI6 (Legal and economic section dealing with the MI finance as well as economic intelligence and personnel records. Monitoring arms trafficking)
MI7 (Press censorship and propaganda)
MI8 (Cable censorship)
MI9 (Postal censorship)
MI10 (Foreign Military Attaches)
MIR (Information on Russia, Siberia, Central Asia, Persia, Afghanistan, China, Japan, Siam and India)

War Office Military Intelligence (MI) Sections in the Second World War

MI1 (Directorate of Military Intelligence)
MI2 (intelligence in the Soviet Union and Scandinavia)
MI3 (Germany and Eastern Europe)
MI4 (aerial reconnaissance during the Second World War)
MI7 (Military Propaganda during World War I)
MI8 (interception and interpretation of communications)
MI9 (covert operations and PoW escape)
MI10 (weapons and technical analysis)
MI11 (Field Security Police)
MI12 (Liaison with censorship organisations in Ministry of Information, military censorship.)
MI13 (Not Used)
MI14 (German specialists)
MI15 (Aerial photography - in Spring 1943 aerial photography moved to the Air Ministry and MI15 became air defence intelligence.)
MI16 (MI16 Scientific Intelligence - formed 1945.)
MI17 (secretariat for MI departments)
MI18 (Not Used)
MI19 (Prisoner of War debriefing)
MI(R) was responsible for the creation of the secret Home Guard Auxiliary Units.
MI (JIS) Axis planning staff.
MI L (R) Russian Liaison.
MI L Attaches

Most British military intelligence is now gathered and analysed by the Defence Intelligence Staff, part of the Ministry of Defence, with support from MI6, GCHQ and allied intelligence organisations.

ALR 18:34, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Opening line[edit]

I don't think it's just the British media that refers to The Security Service as MI5. As stated above, the organisation clearly refers to itself as MI5 on its website so I think this reference should be removed. Escaper7 13:12, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

OK, most media organisations. The services website is marketing and recruiting blurb, it has to talk to the lowest common denominator so I'd not consider that as an authorotative source on the usage, indeed the site itself clarifies that its name is Security Service and that the MI5 designator ceased official usage prior to WWII. Notwithstanding that I'm not going to change back your deletion.ALR 17:27, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

History sections[edit]

Reading through the history it does tend to read as if it's been lifted verbatim from a book. I've tried to tidy up the pre WWI section and will have a hack at the rest later, but it's not easy reading or editing.ALR 19:55, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Removed content addition[edit]

I reverted the content added today about the early WWI experiences of the service, the style was unencyclopedic and chatty, and the assertion was unsubstantiated. If there is a reference to back up the addition then it'd be useful to see what it is, and once that's presented we can work on integrating the point into the history.ALR 16:57, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

More edits[edit]

I'm continuing to try to chip away at the history section and make it a bit more readable and to reduce the sensationalism. It's challenging :) I've now dealt with CT, Serious Crime and the post WWII sections, they all need massive citations, even for the bits that we all know about liek the Cambridge five, we might but it still needs evidenced. tbh I've been putting off the two remaining sections because its not something I know huge amounts about and I have a little more difficulty sifting the wheat from the chaff.ALR 15:00, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

The public activities of MI5 will have been reported in The Times newspaper, probably around the time the story leaked. If you can find the article then the date and page can be cited.

Andrew Swallow 18:34, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Whilst they may have been, are they adequately reliable in any newspaper? Personally I view anything in the print or broadcast media with respect to the Intelligence and Security Agencies or Special Forces with a significant degree of suspicion. Since they don't source their stories they're not robustly defensible.ALR 21:40, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
As an aside, whilst i recognise the importantance of citations, the last part of this article is totally rediculous with its [citation needed] notes - it totally kills the readability. If you really get your knickers in a knot regarding the sourcing of public information regarding a naturally 'secretive' organistation, then please for heaven's sake just put up a notice at the top of the section explaining that it is semi-unsubstantiated, and leave us poor readers in peace. Thankyou. 08:26, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

There is a section that describes MI5 in the post-war period as becoming a "fully-fledged secret police". That doesn't seem NPOV. --Teenygnome (talk) 19:29, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

changed to "investigating force". Dormskirk (talk) 21:18, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

MI5/Security Service (United Kingdom)/United Kingdom Security Service[edit]

The page has been moved (again) from MI5 to United Kingdom Security Service. I think we ought to have a final discussion, once and for all, and find some consensus, so that we can prevent the article from being renamed over and over again.

There seems to be two real options - either MI5 or Security Service (United Kingdom). I don't think the current name is particularly suitable, since it's never been called this.

As I see it, the pros for calling it MI5 are that

  • Nearly everyone knows the Service as MI5, and not many people actually know the real name, the Security Service.
    Also, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (acronyms) says:
    Avoid the use of acronyms in page naming unless the term you are naming is almost exclusively known only by its acronyms and is widely known and used in that form (NASA, SETI, and radar are good examples). (my emphasis)
    I think MI5 fits as an exception.
  • Its own website puts MI5 in big white letters, even before "Security Service"
  • People will, in my opinion, undoubtedly more often search for MI5 rather than Security Service when looking for this article, and Security Service would have to have "(United Kingdom)" after it do differentiate it.

As far as I can see, the pros for naming the article Security Service (United Kingdom)

  • Technically and officially, the organisation is called the Security Service.

Please add to the arguments for both options, so that we can finally decide on a name! ConDemTalk 02:07, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

The arguments about searching are specious in the wiki environment, redirects are easy.
MI5 is not a valid acronym, it's historical and dates from the 1920s, so I don't think the guidance really applies. It's a popular name, nothing more.
Consistency with the SIS and GCHQ names, neither of them are using their historic titles and redirects are applied from MI6 and GC&CS already.
Popularity does not imply accuracy, sloppy thinking is the purview of politicians not analysts and it strikes me as ironic that sloppiness should apply to the naming of an analytical organisation.
fwiw I'd prefer either Security Service(United Kingdom) or British Security Service, the latter being most correct.
ALR 07:55, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's "sloppy" to refer to the Security Service as MI5, especially since it's been known as MI5 since the 1920s, and even the Service itself refers to its name this way.
According to the first paragraph of Wikipedia:Naming Conventions: Generally, article naming should prefer to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.
I think the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize MI5, rather than the Security Service, in reference to this particular organisation. I also think that this reduces ambiguity compared to Security Service, and that people would more often than not link to MI5 rather than British Security Service or suchlike. (There are already over 500 links to MI5, although some of these may have been changed to MI5 from some other link.) I think in this country at least (the UK, and it's a British organisation) if you said to someone "the British Security Service" you'd have to clarify what you meant more often than if you said "MI5". I think the name of this article should reflect that, in the spirit of the quotation from WP:NAME. ConDemTalk 09:12, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
The service calls itself the Security Service, the Cabinet Office documents which outline the Security and Intelligence apparatus of the UK refer to it as the Security Service. The service referes to itself as MI5 on the website, which is a recruitment tool, it does explain in the site that the terminology is incorrect.
I'll repeat the point about redirects, and tbh the existing links can be redone. It's quite a big job but it needn't all be done at once.
If you listen to Radio 4 at all they usually refer to The Security Service, MI5 so covering both options. I don't really think that dumbing down the title just because people can't get the terminology correct is really the direction we should be taking.
ALR 09:43, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
The redirects aren't a problem, I just meant that MI5 is the name that's more likely to be linked to, and that this was the key point - according to WP:NAME, we should be calling things what people most easily recognise, etc. (Although in extreme cases, I can see where this might fall down.) I also certainly don't see that calling it MI5 is dumbing it down (especially if Radio 4 uses both!) The "About MI5" section of the webiste's first line begins "The Security Service, more commonly known as MI5" [1]. I think the discussion we have here should be about what's the easiest name for readers, not what's the more correct - clearly both are acceptable. ConDemTalk 09:50, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate what you're saying about linking, but WP guidance does tell people to link directly not rely on redirects, and if they're really concerned they can obfuscate the proper name with the popular, though incorrect, terminology. This might be a fairly fundamental approach issue, I expect editors to do their work and I'm not fond of putting in short-cuts which encourage propagation of factual errors. If the article is properly named then using the incorrect term becomes a conscious decision, rather than a default condition for WP.
And fwiw it's the only article in the ISS related portfolio that uses an 80year old name. Everything else is using the current and proper term, alluding to the misuse of the historical name where appropriate.
ALR 10:11, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
To be honest, since both names will be mentioned in the first line of the article, it's not a major issue (although I still say that both names are current!) Let's wait for some other input into the discussion and take it from there... ConDemTalk 10:21, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
To throw in my thoughts on the matter, I think that (despite ALR's good points re. the properness of names), I think ConDem's ones ring truer to the standard Wikipedia policy on the matter - we should put this at "MI5", with redirects as appropriate, of course.
James F. (talk) 18:47, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Just to add to an old debate: Britannica has its articles under the headings 'MI5' and 'MI6' (with formally followed by the offial name opening the article).Tobyox (talk) 06:15, 18 February 2008 (UTC)


Not sure if it can (or should) be included, but I've heard MI5 went on strike against collecting trade intel, & won. Ashenden 08:28, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was Move to MI5 Duja 10:52, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

United Kingdom Security ServiceMI5 — More debate is needed on what to call this page - it's been moved around a lot over the past few months, and a consensus needs to be reached. MI5 is by far the most common name for this particular service. It's never been called the "United Kingdom Security Service". ConDemTalk 15:19, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Do what you want. The correct name is the Security Service, it is that simple.ALR 18:17, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately it's not quite that simple - for example, many people aren't titled in the encyclopedia by their official name, but by the name most people recognize them by - e.g. Madonna (entertainer). ConDemTalk 18:25, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Redirects, it is that simple.ALR 18:58, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Read WP:NAME and WP:COMMONNAME. It is that simple. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 20:51, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Firmly disagree with some of these changes. The article must have Security Service in the title. Whether you want to add UK, or UK in brackets, or United Kingdom, or any variation before or after, that's entirely up for debate. However, the WHOIS record for lists the owner as Security Service. (Extra3 23:19, 23 February 2007 (UTC))
I don't think people are arguing that it's not its technical name - it's just they're debating what the encyclopedia article should be called. For example, the official name of Westminster School is The Royal College of St. Peter at Westminster but everyone calls it "Westminster School", and so that's what the article's called. At least the service has been officially named MI5 at some point! ConDemTalk 01:45, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
May I suggest an alternative compromise of MI5 (United Kingdom)?? That would ensure the article is relevant, redirects, and yet retains a reasonable amount of accuracy. (Extra3 02:53, 24 February 2007 (UTC))


Add  # '''Support'''  on a new line in the appropriate section followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion using ~~~~. Please remember that this survey is not a vote, and please provide an explanation for your recommendation.
  • Comment. These are the three main options, as I see them. Please see above discussion for arguments for and against various names, but please put new discussion below so support for each option can be gauged. If I've left an option out, add it with its own header. ConDemTalk 15:27, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Survey - in support of a move to MI5[edit]

  1. Strong support. The service in question has been called MI5 by the overwhelming majority of non-experts for decades. Although the "Security Service" is its technical name, WP:NAME says: Generally, article naming should prefer what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize. I strongly believe MI5 to be the name the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize. ConDemTalk 15:27, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support. WP:NAME: AFAIK, its most common name is MI5. They even call themselves MI5 on their website (along with their full moniker "The Security Service"). Checking the All-knowing Oracle, "Security Service" gets 1.16M hits, while "MI5" gets 2.52M. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 15:33, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
    Also, be aware that many google results for a search of "Security Service" will be for individual security services, public and private. ConDemTalk 15:38, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
    Indeed; I didn't bother to mention it because the ratio of "MI5" to "Security Service" was already over 2:1; taking into account the non-MI5 usages of "Security Service", that ratio should jump far higher. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 20:50, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
  3. Strongly reject - MI5 is a colloquialism (Extra3 23:19, 23 February 2007 (UTC)).
    It's not a colloquialism, it's what the service used to be offically called, and what it's still known by now. ConDemTalk 01:38, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
    Except by the Government, and Home Office. (Extra3 02:17, 24 February 2007 (UTC))
    Exactly. So if everyone except the government and home office uses MI5, including the press (much more than Security Service), and the overwhelming majority of civilians, shouldn't we call it MI5? It's meant to be "what the majority of English speakers would recognize" not "the name it's known as officially". ConDemTalk 02:54, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
  4. Strong support - MI5 is still what most people refer to it as, plus as SigPig says, the organisation itself still prominently uses the term on its own site. -- Arwel (talk) 23:31, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
  5. Strong support - because an overwhelming majority of people use MI5 and not the Security Service, despite the fact MI5 may officially be the wrong name. RHB Talk - Edits 14:58, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Survey - in support of a move to Security Service (United Kingdom)[edit]

  1. ALR 18:17, 23 February 2007 (UTC) It is the correct name.
  2. Entirely agree, this is what the article ought to be named. (Extra3 23:19, 23 February 2007 (UTC))

Survey - in support of a move to MI5 (United Kingdom)[edit]

  1. Support only as a last resort; possible compromise name, failing agreement. (Extra3 15:54, 24 February 2007 (UTC))

Survey - in support of a move to Security Service (MI5)[edit]

  1. Support as above (Extra3 15:00, 25 February 2007 (UTC))

Survey - in support of the page remaining at United Kingdom Security Service[edit]


Add any additional comments:
  • Comment. I strongly feel that the page should not remain at United Kingdom Security Service, since it's never been known by this name. Although MI5 seems to be the obvious choice, if the consensus is against this option, the page should be moved to Security Service (United Kingdom). ConDemTalk 15:31, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
  • This isn't quite a military unit now, but I think WP:MILHIST#UNITNAME could still be applied here; according to that convention, the usual title would be the current official name, disambiguated as needed (i.e. Security Service (United Kingdom)). The guideline also notes that a previous official name (i.e. MI5) can be used "in cases where the unit is clearly more commonly known by one of the previous names", so that would be another possibility. In any case, though, the "United Kingdom" at the front should go; disambiguators should generally go after the actual title, not before it. Kirill Lokshin 16:48, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
    Interesting. Either way, though, I think the name MI5 is more easily recognized. Additionally, from the MI5 website: "We are a civilian organisation and members of staff have no executive powers". [2] ConDemTalk 17:17, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I've already made my points above. The article must begin with Security Service, or have it reflected in the title. (Extra3 23:24, 23 February 2007 (UTC))
    • The problem - as I see it - is that in the UK, the official name for the Security Service is simply that, a generic name, which could apply to almost anything (even a private concern). This is not the situation in other countries (e.g. ASIO in Australia. So, whilst one wouldn't want people to think the Security Service has United Kingdom in its name, it makes sense, purely for the purposes of this article. (Extra3 23:32, 23 February 2007 (UTC))
      • But either way, even if that's the reason people call it MI5, they still do that. Since Generally, article naming should prefer what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature (WP:NAME), we really should call it MI5, since calling it "Security service" would be going against both what the majority of English speakers most easily recognize, and creating ambiguity instead of having a reasonable minimum, especially because the Security Service is such a vague term. ConDemTalk 01:53, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
        • I suggest an alternative compromise of MI5 (United Kingdom). That would ensure the article is relevant, redirects, and yet retains a reasonable amount of accuracy. (Extra3 02:54, 24 February 2007 (UTC))
          • Is there another "MI5" somewhere? If not, then the disambiguation is unnecessary and would fall foul of Wikipedia naming rules. -- Arwel (talk) 01:29, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment - Why not simply have the page at Security Service and have the disambiguation page at Security service? Or am I missing something here...? Driller thriller 20:27, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment - or how about Security Service (MI5) ? -- Beardo 07:08, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Support - sounds fine to me. What do other guys think about the alternative names proposed?? (Extra3 14:46, 25 February 2007 (UTC))
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Directors General[edit]

The MI5 press release announcing Jonathan Evans' appointment as the new DG says that he will be the services' 16th DG – but he's only the 15th on our list!! Who have we missed? -- Arwel (talk) 01:05, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Brigadier A.W.A. Harker (1940-1941), apparently. [3] I've had a brief look in Google Books, but there's next to nothing about him there. -- ChrisO 00:45, 24 October 2007 (UTC)


This page has been moved according to RM. So what about others in MI numbers and other agencies like CIA, NSA etc.? Apple•w••o••r••m• 16:13, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

See new article on whole of British intelligence, below

Plan SNUFFBOX[edit]

The section on WWII has
"MI5 experienced further failure during the Second World War. It was chronically unprepared, both organisationally and in terms of resources, for the outbreak of war, and utterly unequal to the task which it was assigned—the large-scale internment of enemy aliens in an attempt to uncover enemy agents. The operation was badly mishandled and contributed to the near-collapse of the agency by 1940."
The book Camp 020 says that MI5 were tracking members of the NSDAP before WWII, in August 1939 six hundred Parteigenossen "prudently left the country" leaving eight hundred. MI5 had been planning Plan SNUFFBOX and "by the outbreak of war seven hundred or thereabout were safely in gaol". Which version is correct? That does not sound like a failure. --jmb 10:44, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

MI5 vs. MI6[edit]

As stated on the talk page of MI6, these two articles do not actually explain the differences between MI5 and MI6. It would be very useful to have this spelled out--perhaps even in the introductions to both. I was wondering whether MI5 and MI6 were analogous to the US FBI (domestic jurisdiction) and CIA (foreign jurisdiction) respectively, and this article did not help to clarify that at all. RobertM525 (talk) 06:58, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I thought the first lines explained that
MI5 = "MI5 ... is the United Kingdom's counter-intelligence and security agency"
MI6 = "MI6 is the United Kingdom's external intelligence agency"
That seems fairly clear to me. I doubt whether any two countries agencies are exactly analogous so it does not seem correct to use just use one country as a comparison. --jmb (talk) 16:00, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
It's worth noting that BSS and the FBI aren't really all that analogous - FBI is more akin to the UK's SOCA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:09, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
agree, the article comparison to the function of MI5 to the USA's FBI is fairly gratuitous; why not compare other countries for example..should be deleted. Dioclesian (talk) 13:41, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

If you read Andrew's authoritative book you'll realise that MI5 has a long record of operating outside UK and MI6 also operates in UK, and that sometimes they operate jointly. Then there's the whole matter of cooperation with other UK intelligence agencies. This confusion leads to underinformed assumptions that tries to pin specific allegations on MI5 because its 'obviously' them, the dodgy claims about collusion with paramilitaries are definitely in this category. On naming, its probably relevant that the organisation is governed by the 'Security Service Act, 1989' Amusingly there's no mention of the BSSO and its operations in Germany until at least the end of the Cold War.Nfe (talk) 07:06, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Overview of British intelligence - new article[edit]

I have created a United Kingdom intelligence community page where we can address the broad issues, such as the relative scope of MI5 and MI6 (as mentioned here). At the moment it is mostly the list of key agencies shown at the global List of intelligence agencies. It should provide an appropriate place to deal with some of the ambiguities that the present atomised articles fail to cover well.

To discuss, please use this Talk page. Earthlyreason (talk) 06:52, 3 November 2008 (UTC)


Original MI5 logo. Believed to be pre-1955 or as part of her 1950's to 1970's official insignia [citation needed] It features the 'Eye of Providence', also known as the 'all-seeing eye'.

Should the MI5/SS logo be mentioned in this article? I believe it is pre-1955 but have also read that it was used from the 1950's to 1970's. Any more information on this?

Allegations against MI5[edit]

I want to open up a new section called as the "Allegations" in this article based on the link from below, but before that I want to notify it in the discussion page. Bsathya4 (talk) 12:06, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Allegations require several sources backing up the same story, one source shouldnt be trusted when dealing with such sensitive allegations. BritishWatcher (talk) 12:19, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
This allegations in question is done not some blogger, its the B. Raman who headed counter-terrorism division of India's external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing. I think his accolades will permit him to be a valid source to Wikipedia. So I think I go and edit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bsathya4 (talkcontribs) 15:16, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

'One Episode' of what? in 'Post-war_the_troubles_in_Northern_Ireland'[edit]

A paragraph refers to 'One episode' but does not state what this episode is. it seems like its probably copy-paste without any context. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:42, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Troubles in northern Ireland section not needed[edit]

The section is labelled "post war: the troubles in northern ireland" yet northern ireland is only mentioned briefly once and the rest is on MI5 failures and subjects nothing to do with the troubles. I suggest this title is renamed to simply post war as northern irleand's troubles are barley even mentioned.

Better yet, why not expand the section to highlight MI5's role during the Troubles.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 09:35, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Secrets Service(s) , MI5 and MI6 (question)[edit]

Is it wrong to state "Her Majesties Secret Services are MI5 (Military Intelligence, section 5) and MI6 (Military Intelligence, section 6). MI5 answers to the Home Secretary and MI6 to the Prime Minister ?". Is this formulation officially wrong ? Reason for the question is statements at other Wikipedia. (Pardon for possible misspellings my computer dictionary doesn't work, and can't find my book-dictionary eighter) Boeing720 (talk) 23:19, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Sorry you are wrong on several counts.

MI5 is the Security Service and reports to the Home Secretary.

MI6 is the Secret Intelligence Service and reports to the Foreign Secretary, not the Prime Minister.

There is no organisation called "Her Majesty's Secret Service". Whilst the names MI5 and MI6 have now been incorporated into the two organisations logos, it would be wrong in present day circumstances still to call them "Military Intelligence" as they are civilian organisations. Hope this helps. Regards, David J Johnson (talk) 23:29, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

140 Gower St[edit]

Gower Street, London links here, but there's no mention in this article of the headquarters building. Spicemix (talk) 16:13, 15 July 2013 (UTC)


Is the Security Service the same agency as Military Intelegence Section 5 but under the Home Office rather then the War Office? If not, then could a new article be made under Military Intelegence Section 5? Regards, Rob (talk) 23:12, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

MIV should redirect here[edit]

MIV (the V is Roman numeral for 5) should redirect here, it was widely used early on in MI5's existence and personally I keep accidently writing it that way, I think it makes sense to link here. Threadnecromancer (talk) 18:24, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Threadnecromancer.

You may refer to the organisation as "MIV", but no media, or the Security Service itself, refers to it by that title. I'm afraid that a link is unnecessary. Regards, David J Johnson (talk) 19:17, 7 December 2013 (UTC)