Into The Grey Zone

Into The Grey Zone

What do assassinations, cyber hacks and disinformation have in common? They’re all weapons used by states against each other in a grey zone of harm that sits - deliberately - under the threshold of war, but could be just as dangerous if ignored. Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor Deborah Haynes explores this often invisible battlefield, where anything can be - and is - used as a weapon and anyone, anywhere can be a target.

Episodes

March 3, 2021 50 min
In this final episode, we have the first ever interview with serving MI5 officers who work in counter intelligence.

Tom and Kate talk about the challenge of grey zone threats from Russia and reveal their shock at the Salisbury spy poisonings.

They also reveal that the Security Service has bolstered protection for people in the UK deemed at risk from Russia and is doing “everything we can” to prevent another Salisbury-style attack, bu...
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What happens when the grey zone becomes a war zone and what might future wars look like, with hypersonic missiles, artificial intelligence and cyber changing calculations?

These are questions Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes explores in this episode, in part, by looking at Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

She also talks to General Sir Nick Carter, the head of Britain’s armed forces, about what he t...
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February 22, 2021 46 min
This episode explores a global battle of values between China and leading democracies over issues like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang.

It’s being fought with an array of covert weapons, from cyber attacks and information operations to economic coercion and even something called “lawfare”.

Allegations of such behaviour are made and denied by both sides, which of course is to be expected - in the grey zone.

Guests:
Tom Tugendhat, Conserv...
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February 15, 2021 40 min
On 3 January 2020, the United States killed Iran’s top spy master, Major General Qasem Soleimani, in a drone strike in Iraq.

There was nothing grey or ambiguous about the assassination, but this episode explores the escalating grey zone hostilities between Iran and the United States in the preceding years and how they almost ignited a real war.

Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes explores in particular how Iran allegedly uses proxy fo...
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In their first joint interview, the director of the UK spy agency GCHQ and the top general in charge of cyber operations for the military talk about how the UK is using the power of cyber to push back against adversaries with the creation of a whole new National Cyber Force.

Jeremy Fleming and General Sir Patrick Sanders also reveal new details about how the UK used offensive cyber in the fight against Islamic State, attacking the t...
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States, criminals and terrorists all use cyber to attack each other in the grey zone. It puts anyone with a computer in the firing line, but also means that anyone who understands computers has the ability to fight back.

This episode explores a range of cyber threats from espionage up to attacks that cause physical harm, such as by targeting hospitals or electricity supplies.

Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes also speaks to a young ...
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January 25, 2021 41 min
This episode looks at the grey zone weapon of hacking information – like private emails or documents – and then leaking it online to try to influence people or damage reputations.

It is a tactic Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, is accused of using to target the US presidential election in 2016 and the French election in 2017.

Moscow has denied involvement.

Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes also talks about how she was ...
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January 18, 2021 47 min
This episode explores a battle between truth and lies that’s threatening democracies around the world. It looks at how information is used as a weapon, not just by hostile foreign states, seeking to divide and weaken rival nations, but also by domestic politicians and other actors.

Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes speaks to the author of a book on the history of disinformation, Professor Thomas Rid , who talks about fake news duri...
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January 10, 2021 48 min
This episode seeks to explain what the grey zone is. It includes a warning from General Sir Nick Carter, the head of the UK’s armed forces, and Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, about the danger of ignoring attacks in this murky space, while Lieutenant General Graeme Lamb, a former director of UK special forces, warns: “We’re being boiled like a frog!”

Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes then travels to Salisbury with the widow of ...
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January 1, 2021 2 min
What do assassinations, cyber hacks and disinformation have in common? They’re all weapons used by states against each other in a grey zone of harm that sits - deliberately - under the threshold of war, but could be just as dangerous if ignored.

Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes explores this often invisible battlefield, where anything can be - and is - used as a weapon and anyone, anywhere can be a target.

The series examines gre...
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