Head of MI6 TWEETS: New chief Richard Moore becomes first member of British secret service to post on Twitter and says he plans to continue – but can’t confirm or deny how often
- Richard Moore already had an account before he took over as head of MI6 as ‘C’
- The 57-year-old career diplomat tweeted last night from his account ‘@ChiefMI6’
- He took over chief of Secret Intelligence Service Thursday from Sir Alex Younger
The new head of MI6 has become the first member of the British secret service to openly post on Twitter.
Richard Moore already had an account before taking over as ‘C’ and said he plans to continue using the social media site but ‘can neither confirm nor deny how often’.
The 57-year-old tweeted last night from his page ‘@ChiefMI6’: ‘Proud day today. First as ”C”.
‘Feel immensely privileged to lead such talented and committed public servants who work tirelessly to secure our interests and values abroad and keep us safe at home.’
‘There are limits to what I can say on Twitter #OurSuccessesMustRemainSecret. I plan to keep tweeting, but obviously can neither confirm nor deny how often.
‘I’ll also try to persuade some of you to come and work for #MI6. #Bond or #Smiley need not apply. They’re (splendid) fiction but actually we’re #secretlyjustlikeyou.’
Richard Moore already had an account before taking over as ‘C’ and said he plans to continue using the social media site but ‘can neither confirm nor deny how often’
The 57-year-old tweeted last night from his page ‘@ChiefMI6’: ‘Proud day today. First as ”C”’
Mr Moore took over as head of the Secret Intelligence Service yesterday from Sir Alex Younger, who had been chief since November 2014.
He is an accomplished spy and is well respected across Britain’s intelligence community.
Sir Alex said: ‘I am delighted by this appointment. Richard is a highly accomplished intelligence officer and we look forward to welcoming him back to the service.’
Social media users piled in with comments on Mr Moore’s posts, with one writing: ‘A licence to tweet!’
Another wrote: ‘Yes best keep shtum, we wouldn’t want the Russians to abandon spying and instead just follow you.’
One person posted: ‘Welcome to Twitter Richard, you’ll find more treachery, duplicitous behaviour, shadowy characters, backstabbing and general mayhem than you’ll ever find in the world of espionage. Can be fun at times though.’
A man tweeted: ‘Quality banter… ”Limits to what I can say”. ”Neither confirm nor deny”. A solid first foray.’
One account commented: ‘Sorry… mis-read your name. Thought it said Roger Moore… raised an eyebrow.’ Another added: ‘We’ve been expecting you, Mr Moore.’
Outgoing MI6 chief Sir Alex Younger (pictured) said he is ‘delighted’ by the appointment, adding: ‘Richard is a highly accomplished intelligence officer’
Last month it emerged Mr Moore’s grandfather was an IRA fighter who won a medal from Sinn Fein for fighting against British rule.
Jack Buckley joined the IRA in Cork in 1916 and fought until 1922. He even won a medal from the Irish president for fighting against the British government.
He told a newspaper in Turkey, where he was ambassador: ‘I am of Irish origin. My grandfather fought against the British Government in the separatist Irish Republican Army between 1916 and 1922.
‘He received a medal from the Irish president. Now, I am the ambassador of the British government.’
He spoke about his background to show Turkey he was able to arrive at a compromise with Kurdish separatist rebels.
Moore’s brief official biography says he was born in Libya and is married (pictured with wife Maggie) with two children
The Oxford-educated career diplomat joined MI6 in 1987 where he ‘undertook a range of roles across the Service both in the UK and overseas’.
Mr Moore went on to serve as the UK’s ambassador to Turkey between 2014 and 2017 and is currently the director general of political affairs at the Foreign Office.
He said about his new post earlier this year: ‘I am pleased and honoured to be asked to return to lead my service.
‘SIS plays a vital role – with MI5 and GCHQ – in keeping the British people safe and promoting UK interests overseas.
‘I look forward to continuing that work alongside the brave and dedicated team at SIS.’
Mr Moore’s brief official biography says he was born in Libya and is married with two children.
It reads: ‘Outside of work, Richard’s interests include playing golf and watching cricket and rugby,’ says the biography. He speaks fluent Turkish.’
He was educated at St George’s College in Surrey – a Roman Catholic school – before reading philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University.
Moore has been married to his wife Maggie since 1985. He frequently shares pictures of them together on social media (right)
He went onto study at the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University through a scholarship for British graduates of universities in the UK.
Mr Moore has frequently shared photographs of him and his wife Maggie on social media. They have been married since 1985.
Mrs Moore – who is visually impaired – was part of the inspiration behind the first guide dog partnership in Turkey.
She told local media: ‘Having a guide dog by your side goes beyond having a pet. You are a working team, but Star is also my companion, my buddy.
‘For me, being independent is really important, particularly if I want to go out on my own.’
She lost about 90 per cent of her vision at the age of ten due to juvenile macular degeneration – a term denoting multiple inherited and uncommon diseases.
Mrs Moore, while still in school, met her husband while on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, she told BBC Radio 4.
She said Mr Moore – who she dubs her ‘little miracle’ – was the team leader in the hotel where she stayed.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appointed the former intelligence officer to become the new chief with the agreement of the Prime Minister.
A general view of the MI6 building in Vauxhall, London. The Secret Intelligence Service operates overseas and is tasked with defending Britain and its interests (file photo)
Mr Raab said earlier this year: ‘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.’
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.
Mr Moore’s predecessor Sir Alex was the only former modern MI6 chief to leave the role after more than five years.
Sir John Sawers, Sir John Scarlett and Sir Richard Dearlove all left the role inside half a decade – but Sir Alex stayed longer to ensure stability through the political tumult of Brexit.
Sir Alex identified cyber-security as a top priority for Britain during his term, describing the internet as ‘an existential threat’ to intelligence work in 2016.
He also raised concern about the safety of China’s private telecoms giant Huawei, which Britain decided to phase out of its 5G network.
Having first joined MI6 in 1987, Moore went on to serve as the UK’s ambassador to Turkey.
His FCO profile also says he has had postings in Vietnam and Turkey between 1990 and 1992, as well as in Pakistan and Malaysia.
Moore was appointed his role at the Foreign Office in April 2018.
Beforehand he was Director for Europe, Latin America and Globalisation between 2010 and 2012, and Director for Programmes and Change between 2008 and 2010, previously being posted to Vietnam, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia.
Born in Libya, Moore attended Oxford University to study a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and took part in the Stanford Executive Programme in 2007.
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