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UK Ex-Intelligence Chiefs Warn Brexit Could Undermine Data Exchange With EU

© Flickr / SkinbopsMI5
MI5 - Sputnik International
The United Kingdom’s former chiefs of the MI5 Security Service and the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service warned that a potential exit from the European Union would undermine efforts at protecting the country terrorism.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Brexit supporters argue that EU membership has eroded Britain’s national sovereignty, while opponents have argued that leaving the 28-member bloc could impact everything from the economy to national security.

"The terms on which we exchange data with other European countries are set by agreement within the EU… An agreement reached without us would probably be too restrictive for our needs… this could undermine our ability to protect ourselves," former MI6 head John Sawers and MI5 chief Jonathan Evans wrote in an op-ed in The Sunday Times.

The two argued that the UK shapes the data-exchange debate as an EU member "and we benefit from the data flows as a result." Sawers and Evans further warned that intelligence sharing in the event of a Brexit would be damaged because Brussels would restrict surveillance powers used by security services.

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. - Sputnik International
Daesh Operating Secret Cells in UK, Germany, Italy - US Intelligence Chief
Sawers was succeeded as MI6 Chief by Alex Younger in 2014, one year after Evans was succeeded by Andrew Parker.

Their argument in favour of the Vote Remain camp contradicts former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove’s assertions, who reportedly said in March that British security could be improved with the Brexit because it would ease deportation procedures and improve border controls.

Dearlove served as head of MI6 in 1999-2004.

According to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s evidence submission last week, a Brexit would result in "decades of uncertainty" for the country, saying that London would have to sign new trade agreements with 27 EU member states.

The referendum on the UK membership in the European Union will be held on June 23.

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