Alleged links to Russian intelligence services spurs resignations in Cambridge Intelligence Seminar

Reetika Subramanian 19 December 2016

Following the unforeseen resignations of senior experts from the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (CIS), questions have been raised over the forum's alleged links with Kremlin operatives and alleged threats from the Russian intelligence services.

The CIS is an academic forum for visiting speakers to discuss innovative intelligence research in progress. 

The resigned posts were held by former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, who has previously held the position of Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, former policy adviser at the White House Stefan Halper, and historian Peter Martland.

According to reports, the Kremlin is allegedly behind a newly-established intelligence journal, which also provides funding to the group.

The new London-based digital publishing house Veruscript, which helps cover some of the CIS’s costs, is also alleged to be acting as a front for the Russian intelligence services. 

The CIS was set up by official MI5 historian Professor Christopher Andrew. The weekly seminars, which take place on Fridays at the university's Corpus Christi College, are advertised on the University website.

Previous attendees include Mike Flynn, Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser to the US, and Dr Paul Martin, the ex-director of parliamentary security.

A news report published in The Financial Times claims that some of those involved in the CIS "are thought to be concerned that Russia may attempt to use the link to the seminars to influence sensitive debates on national defence and security".

Moreover, while speaking about his resignation, Mr Halper is said to have told reporters that his decision to step down was due to "unacceptable Russian influence" on the group. 

When contacted by The Cambridge Student, University authorities refused to comment, claiming that they wouldn't be issuing any statements in response to the news reports doing the rounds.