The next head of the Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, was named Richard Moore.
Mr. Moore is currently Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a former Ambassador to Turkey. He will take over as head of MI6 in the fall.
He succeeds Sir Alex Younger, who has served for almost six years.
Mr. Moore has been hailed as “an excellent choice” and “calm, engaging, thoughtful and courageous” by a former head of MI6.
MI6 is the UK’s foreign intelligence service and is responsible for intelligence gathering outside the UK.
He says his three main goals are to stop terrorism, disrupt the activity of hostile states and give the UK a cyber advantage.
Its counterpart intelligence agency, MI5, is charged with protecting the UK, its citizens and interests at home and abroad from threats to national security.
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Born in Libya, Mr. Moore joined MI6 in 1987 and subsequently served as director. He was also Deputy National Security Advisor in the Cabinet Office.
During his career he was posted to Vietnam, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia.
According to his online biography, he is married with two children and his interests include golf, hiking, scuba diving, Turkish rugs and porcelain, and visiting historic sites. He is fluent in Turkish and sometimes tweets there.
“I am happy and honored to have been invited to return to lead my service,” said Mr. Moore.
“The SIS plays a vital role – along with MI5 and GCHQ – in ensuring the security of the British and promoting British interests abroad.
“I look forward to continuing this work alongside the courageous and dedicated team of SIS. “
“C” ‘s job is to balance what is happening within the confines of MI6 with the outside world.
Internally, a leader must ensure that MI6 is able to continue to generate intelligence from agents.
This requires complex decisions about risks and resources, but also ensuring that the secret services keep up with technology – the interconnected, data-driven world calls into question traditional espionage as it is more difficult to keep secrets and to work under cover.
But a leader must also navigate the world, sometimes acting as a secret diplomat, cultivating alliances that ensure intelligence cooperation, and sometimes maintaining return contacts with sensitive countries.
A chef must also navigate to Whitehall. There was a time when they had little contact with the prime minister, but that changed as relations grew closer – too close, according to many, as the war in Iraq approached.
Richard Moore’s resume – which includes operational time in MI6 early in his career, then as an ambassador and finally in the halls of power – is likely what helped secure him the job.
John Sawers, who served as director of MI6 for five years until 2014, said Mr. Moore “has the perfect mix of experience – leading intelligence operations and taking senior positions in diplomacy and policy development ”.
“He knows how intelligence is produced and how it is best used to protect our national security. “
Mr. Sawers added: “I have known Richard for many years. He is calm, engaging, thoughtful and courageous – all qualities that will be essential for the demanding role of MI6 leader, especially in these difficult times. ”
Outgoing MI6 chief Sir Alex said: “Richard is a very accomplished intelligence officer and we can’t wait to wake him up in the service. “
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab appointed Mr. Moore with the agreement of the Prime Minister.
“He returns to SIS with extraordinary experience and will oversee the work of a group of men and women whose tireless efforts are rarely seen in public, but who are essential to the security and prosperity of the UK,” said he declared.
“I pay tribute to Sir Alex Younger for all he did while leading the Secret Intelligence Service.
“He carefully and effectively guided the service through a time of increasing and more diverse threats. “
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Sir Alex took on the role of head of SIS – known as ‘C’ – in 2014.
Public speeches by the head of MI6 are rare. In 2018 Sir Alex spoke at the University of St Andrews, where he studied as an undergraduate.
In his speech, he raised questions about the involvement of Chinese tech companies in the UK’s communications infrastructure.
He also said Russia should not underestimate the UK’s capabilities.