LONDON Britain named career diplomat and intelligence officer Richard Moore on Wednesday as the new chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, the foreign spy service known as MI6.
Moore, 57, joined MI6 in 1987, just four years before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
An accomplished spy and well respected across Britain’s intelligence community, Moore served in various senior diplomatic and security roles before winning MI6’s top job, which he will take up from Alex Younger in the autumn.
“He returns to SIS with tremendous experience and will oversee the work of a group of men and women whose tireless efforts are rarely seen in public, but which are critical for the security and prosperity of the UK,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday.
Currently director general of political affairs at the Foreign Office, Moore served as British ambassador to Turkey from January 2014 to December 2017. He has also served as deputy national security adviser.
Born in Libya, he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University and was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard.
“I am pleased and honoured to be asked to return to lead my Service,” Moore said. “I look forward to continuing that work alongside the brave and dedicated team at SIS.”
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.
The current SIS chief, Younger, has served since November 2014. He stayed on longer than is usual to ensure stability through the political tumult of the Brexit negotiations.
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Other possible candidates for one of the top jobs in Western intelligence were Karen Pierce, Britain’s ambassador to the United States, and Tom Hurd, an interior ministry security official.
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