The security service MI5 has had overall responsibility for security in the North since August 2007. In August 2007 the British Security Service, MI5, assumed lead responsiblity for 'national security intelligence work' in the North.
MI5 has a long history of involvement here and an equally long history of involvement in illegal activities. MI5 for instance was aware in advance that Pat Finucane was to be murdered but did not intervene, it was involved in the smear campaign against Pat Finucane (da Silva) and allowed the 1998 Omagh bombing to proceed, it destroyed covert recordings in the shoot-to-kill cases, ran agents involved in multiple murders and sought to undermine opposition groups in Britain itself.
The Bloody Sunday Tribunal, the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk Bombings and the Stevens and Stalker investigations all faced major difficulties when co-operation was sought from 'Box' as MI5 is known. More recently the Security Service has been complicit in the kidnapping/rendition of British citizens to third countries and in supplying information to other intelligence agencies in the full knowledge that this information was being used during the torture of alleged suspects. MI5 officers have been involved in interrogations at ‘Black sites’ worldwide at‘Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba both centres notorious for the use of torture.
More recently the Service was criticised by CAJ when a spokesperson for MI5 commented on bail provisions in the courts in an interview with the Belfast telegraph. See below.