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The Bureau was split into naval and army sections which, over time, specialised in foreign target espionage and internal counter-espionage activities respectively.

This specialisation was a result of the Admiralty intelligence requirements related to the maritime strength of the Imperial German Navy.

is the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Defence Intelligence (DI).

MI5 is directed by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), and the service is bound by the Security Service Act 1989.

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Its role was originally quite restricted; existing purely to ensure national security through counter-espionage.

With a small staff and working in conjunction with the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police, the service was responsible for overall direction and the identification of foreign agents, whilst Special Branch provided the manpower for the investigation of their affairs, arrest and interrogation.

This specialisation was formalised prior to 1914 and the beginning of World War I, with the two sections undergoing a number of administrative changes and the home section becoming Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 5 (MI5), the name by which it is still known in popular culture.

The founding head of the Army section was Vernon Kell of the South Staffordshire Regiment, who remained in that role until the early part of the Second World War.

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