There was shock amongst intelligence experts as the arrival of the Johnson government has meant the return of suspect Mossad agent of influence, Priti Patel. She was forced to resign in disgrace in November 2017 after she undertook a secret visit to Israel in August of that year without informing her Cabinet colleagues. It was a visit during which she was granted access to senior Israeli figures including a possible meeting with Benjamin Nethanyahu. As has been discussed elsewhere on Spying Today, such covert and high level access is a trade mark of the later stages of an agent of influence recruitment exercise. Patel was accompanied by Lord Polack, President of the Conservative Friends of Israel, who arranges funding for Conservative MPs if they support Israeli policies. He claimed that they just happened to be on holiday at the same time and just happened to attend certain meetings together. This is such a weak cover story that it beggars belief. At the time of her resignation, it was alleged by opposition MPs and even some fellow Cabinet minsters that that she was being offered financial backing and other covert assistance for a future leadership bid. What she might be asked for in return can only be guessed at. It seems that if she was not actually recruited then she was certainly targeted. When she returned to the UK, she started campaigning to have UK humanitarian funds in the region diverted to the Israeli army.
How is that someone who has no relevant experience and who made a secret visit to another nation for covert briefings, is now is charge of UK security services? Not only is there a risk that she could leak intelligence secrets, but she could also act as a source inside the Cabinet. No one seems to have asked the relevant questions such was the haste of her appointment.
If she is a Mossad contact then they have just secured a significant coup. Patel will have control of MI5 and access to all of its operations. This could certainly cripple any Security Service operation against Mossad suspects in the UK. MI5 has already been under criticism for its recent record. Now officers may have to look over their shoulders wondering if the security of their very organisation is under threat.
Meanwhile, SIS is reported to be significantly more happy with their new minister. Dominic Raab is seen by senior management as reasonably sensible, reasonably intelligent and someone who is likely to stand up for the Service.