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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

British Spy Report Warns of Betrayal Danger

LONDON -- Russian spies may be trying to penetrate the British intelligence and security services by preying on agents with financial problems, a parliamentary committee warned Monday.


The Commons Intelligence and Security Committee highlighted the danger of an agent betraying his country for money -- like Aldrich Ames, the U.S. spy who received $3.2 million for selling secrets to the Russians.


The committee, which oversees the work of the security service MI5, the secret intelligence service MI6 and the government listening post GCHQ, said in some key areas "our defenses are not as strong as they should be."


At a press briefing to mark the publication of the committee's annual report, its chairman, former defense secretary Tom King, said the Ames case showed the need for tighter vetting of agency staff.


The report noted that all three agencies had had to withdraw security clearance from staff because of "financial problems or chronic indebtedness."