LONDON Britain's foreign intelligence service is to get 40 percent more spies in one of the biggest expansions since the Cold War as MI6 seeks to harness new technology, the BBC said.
The Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, will see its numbers increase to a little under 3,500 by 2020 from around 2,500, the BBC said, citing unidentified sources. MI6 does not disclose its staff numbers.
MI6 chief Alex Younger said this week that the Islamist terrorist threat to the West would endure for years to come because simply taking back territory from Islamic State will not solve the deeper global fractures which have fostered militants.
MI6, depicted by novelists as the employer of some of the most memorable fictional spies from John le Carré's George Smiley to Ian Fleming's James Bond, operates overseas and is tasked with defending Britain and its interests.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton)