MI5/D Branch

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Group.png MI5/D BranchRdf-icon.png
Formation1938
Parent organizationMI5
Typeintelligence agency
Interestscounter-espionage

D Branch is the division of MI5 responsible for non-terrorist threats and protective security, including counter-espionage. It is one of four operational branches which report to the Deputy Director General of the Security Service.[1]

History

The designation 'D Branch' has been applied to a variety of functions over the course of MI5's history.

1916-Imperial Intelligence

The earliest version of D Branch was created in 1916, shortly after the foundation of MI5, to cover imperial and overseas (including Irish) intelligence.[2]

1938-Protective Security

By 1929, MI5 had been reduced to two branches, A and B.[3] In 1938, D Branch was re-established with responsibility for protective security in munitions, aircraft factories and dockyards.[4]

1953-Counter-espionage

In Dick White's 1953 re-organisation of the Service, D Branch became the division responsible for counter-espionage.[5] From 1965-1970, Hugh Fraser worked for D Branch, where he "ran agents against Russian diplomats serving in Britain in an effort to establish whether they were actually KGB agents".[6]

In 1968, Michael Hanley was appointed head of D Branch, and carried out a re-organisation which led to its replacement with MI5 K Branch.[7]

1994-Non-terrorist threats

In MI5's organisation as of 1994, D Branch had been re-established. Its current incarnation includes elements of the former C Branch, F Branch and K Branch.

Organisation

Sections

  • D1: Vetting of non-MI5 personnel.
  • D4: Counter-espionage. Targets include Russia and China.
  • D5: D Branch agent runners.[8]



References

  1. Michael Smith, The Spying Game, Politico's, 2003, pp.129-130.
  2. Christopher Andrew, Defence of the Realm, The Authorized History of MI5, Allen Lane, 2009, p.84.
  3. Christopher Andrew, Defence of the Realm, The Authorized History of MI5, Allen Lane, 2009, p.127.
  4. Christopher Andrew, Defence of the Realm, The Authorized History of MI5, Allen Lane, 2009, p.134.
  5. Christopher Andrew, Defence of the Realm, The Authorized History of MI5, Allen Lane, 2009, p.327.
  6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1334494/Hugh-Fraser.html
  7. Peter Wright, Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of Senior Intelligence Officer, Viking, 1987, pp.332-334.
  8. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War on Terrorism, André Deutsch, 2003, pp.320-321.