MI6 chief doesn’t drive an Aston, but says UK spy ’embracing’ Bond

Richard Moore said Ian Fleming’s fictionalized episode of Service to Bond should be celebrated rather than viewed as a burden (Picture: PA/Rex)

The head of MI6 has no James Bond-style Aston Martin, but says UK spies ’embracing’ the fictional character.

Richard Moore said the Bond films were ‘wonderful’ but insisted that ‘this is not reality’.

In a rare interview, Mr Moore admitted that he had had ‘some bullying’ earlier in his career, but insisted it was a long way from the ‘colourful’ popular portrayal of the espionage trade.

While 007’s boss is known as M, Mr Moore follows the Secret Intelligence Service tradition of being known as C in Whitehall.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that many people mistakenly think it stands for Chief, but explained that ‘it stands for Cumming, as in Mansfield Cumming (the first major of MI6); He was a sailor, and he wrote in green ink’.

Presenter Nick Robinson said: ‘And right now anyone who finds a document with green ink in that building knows where it came from…’

Mr. Moore replied: ‘The same is true of me, and my TypeScript on my computer.’

He also admitted that there are no gadgets in his car, adding: ‘And I can assure you it’s not, sadly, an Aston Martin.’

MI6 chief Richard Moore speaks at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, where he said Britain's intelligence agencies should be open to cooperation with the global tech sector if they can respond to growing cyber threats from hostile states, criminals and terrorists. want to compete.  ,  Picture date: Tuesday November 30, 2021.  PA photo.  See PA story Politics, MI6.  Photo credit should read: Stephen Russo/PA Wire

The MI6 chief speaks at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London (Picture: PA)

Editorial use only.  No book cover use.  Mandatory Credits: Danjak/Eon Productions/Cobble/REx/Shutterstock Photo by (5886236p) Daniel Craig Skyfall - 2012 Director: Sam Mendes Danjak/Eon Productions UK/USA Sean Stills

Mr Moore said the Bond films were ‘wonderful’ but insisted that ‘this is not reality’ (Picture: Danjak / Eon Productions / Koble / Rex / Shutterstock)

Mr Moore said Ian Fleming’s imaginary link of service with Bond should be celebrated rather than viewed as a burden.

He said: ‘It’s fiction, it’s not reality, but the Bond franchise is an amazing one. I really enjoyed watching the most recent movie – no spoilers here but it’s fantastic, it’s a hat to all the great James Bond traditions.’

The head of the Secret Intelligence Service said that ‘we embrace James Bond, although we know it is not real life’.

Robinson asked if Mr Moore had ever worn a beard or a mustache while ‘taking the streets as a youth agent’, or if that is no longer the world MI6 lives in.

Mr Moore said: ‘If the world we lived in is certainly not the world we live in.’

He told Robinson: ‘I’m sure I did some sculpting, probably not at all in the color image you presented.

‘Here’s the serious thing: If we’re going to face those technical threats to our business models, our ways of doing our jobs, then we have to stay ahead of that curve.’

Editorial use only.  No book cover use.  Mandatory Credit: Danjak/Eon Productions/Cobble/REx/Shutterstock (5886236r) Photo by Ben Whishaw Skyfall - 2012 Director: Sam Mendes Danjak / EON Productions UK/USA Sean Stills

The changing nature of the work means that a Q figure is no longer able to provide all the technical capabilities required by the MI6 (Picture: Danjak / Eon Productions / Koble / Rex / Shutterstock)

This means that the gadgets and state-of-the-art equipment used by MI6 can no longer be manufactured only by ‘Boffin’ of ‘Q Labs’ – so the Bond character played by Ben Whishaw may soon be seeking technical support from outside contractors .

Mr Moore called for a ‘sea change’ in the Secret Intelligence Service’s culture.

He highlighted China as one of the countries that was able to harness the power of technology along with its economic strength to establish itself on the global stage.

Its artificial intelligence capabilities allow Beijing to ‘gather data from all over the world’, he said: ‘and it is trying to use influence through its economic policies and sometimes, I think, people. Trying to get him on the hook.

China will use its ability to control data and its financial power as ‘leverage’ against targets.

He said the ‘debt trap’ has allowed China to use ports – which could be used as naval bases – to countries unable to repay loans.

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Mr Moore said: ‘The data trap is this: that, if you allow another country to gain access to really important data about your society, which over time will destroy your sovereignty, your There will be no control over that data.

‘It’s something that, I think, is very much alive to us in the UK and we have put in place safeguards against it.’

The MI6 chief said China “does not share our values ​​and often their interests conflict with ours”, while President Xi Jinping is “very clear that we are now in a more assertive state with China”.

Although he was not looking for an ‘adverse relationship’, he said ‘we need to be very strong fighting our corner’.

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