[What follows is taken from an article headlined Ex-head of MI5 Stella Rimington: Independent Scotland could have own secret service... but setting it up would be complicated published today on the Daily Record and Sunday Mail website:]
The former head of MI5 says there is no reason why an independent Scotland could not set up its own security and intelligence service.
Dame Stella Rimington, the first female director general of MI5, admits the SNP’s plans to set up a new Scottish agency to fight terrorism and cyber security threats would be “quite complicated.”
But she said a precedent had already been set by the UK Government in helping newly independent countries set up their own security services. (...)
As part of the White Paper on independence, the Scottish Government have outlined plans to set up a “single security and intelligence agency for Scotland”. But their estimate that it will cost £206million a year – the same amount Scotland contributes to the cost of UK-wide agencies – has been ridiculed by critics.
Last week, national security experts the Royal United Services Institute said an independent Scotland would face “significant resourcing, capability and legislative hurdles” to replace the security currently provided by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. (...)
Dame Stella’s career progressed dramatically until, in 1992, she became the first public Director General of MI5.
Among the cases she worked on were the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.
She said: “Our people were working very closely with the Scottish police and the Americans trying to find out what happened and who was responsible.
“Questions about Lockerbie still go on, but as far as I’m concerned it was more or less settled.”