“Technology and the internet are overwhelmingly brilliant things for human progress. Unfortunately there will always be people who want to abuse the latest technology. And it’s our job to deal with that dark side.”
Robert Hannigan — Former GCHQ Director
April 7 2017 — Mr Robert Hannigan steps down as GCHQ boss. Jeremy Fleming, formerly Deputy Director of MI5, takes over. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
RELATED POST: Trump’s ‘utterly ridiculous’ spy story rings a bell
RELATED POST: UK: GCHQ denies wiretapping Donald Trump
RELATED POST: UK’s Intelligence Agencies
UPDATE (February 25 2019) — His resignation in January 2017 came out of the blue and certainly surprised me.
Hannigan, then 51, suggested that he wanted to prioritize his family. I knew he was lying and I suspected a serious scandal.
The Mail on Sunday has reported that the real reason was his involvement in the case of Father Edmund Higgins, a Catholic priest and family friend.
Hannigan gave a character reference to a paedophile priest who went on to reoffend.
The court heard that the former priest would watch and share child abuse videos, including one that involved a baby.
Hannigan told the newspaper that Higgins had been a close family friend for 20 years.
“After he pleaded guilty to child sexual imagery offences in 2013, we submitted a character reference on our knowledge of him to the court in good faith.
“His subsequent criminal actions appalled us and have shown that our judgment was completely wrong.
When I later became director of GCHQ, all the correct steps were taken in relation to my involvement in this case and this was verified by government lawyers.
This is a personal family matter. We will not be making further comment.”
Hannigan offered to resign to avoid dragging GCHQ into a scandal and did so with Theresa May’s blessing.
END of UPDATE
Robert Hannigan gave a final interview before his departure. The BBC was granted a rare opportunity to film inside “The Doughnut”.The Interview
About Russia — “We have been watching Russian cyber activity since the mid 1990s. The scale has changed. They’ve invested a lot of money and people in offensive cyber behaviour and critically they’ve decided to do reckless and interfering things in European countries.”
About ISIS and the Internet –“It’s one of their most important assets. As they are defeated on the ground, the ‘online caliphate’ will become more important. They will continue to try to use the media to crowd-source terrorism to get people around the world to go and commit acts of violence on their behalf… There are things we can do to contest ISIL in this media space… but it’s not just for governments to do operations online. It’s for the companies and for the rest of media and society to have the will to drive this material off the internet…”
About encryption — “Encryption matters hugely to the safety of citizens and to the economy…. The home secretary is talking about a particular problem – that this strong encryption is being abused by terrorists and criminals… Our best way forward is to sit down with the tech companies…”
About Internet Companies — “I think they have moved a long way [but] there’s further to go. When I started the job in 2014 they really were reluctant to accept responsibility for anything they carried on their networks – whether that was terrorism, child sexual exploitation or any other kind of crime.”
Will Brexit be a problem? — “I don’t think so, because the intelligence-sharing has never been through EU structures and national security has never been part of the European Union’s remit. It’s simply a statement of fact that we have very, very strong intelligence and security and defence capabilities and we bring a lot to Europe and to our European partners…”
About US spying claims — “We get crazy conspiracy theories thrown at us every day. We ignore most of them. On this occasion it was so crazy that we felt we should say so and we have said it’s a ridiculous suggestion.”
About Privacy — “Obviously a debate on privacy and greater transparency are good things – but it was perfectly possible to do that and indeed it was happening anyway without the damage that the Snowden revelations did. The same is true of the WikiLeaks disclosures.”
UPDATE (April 7 2018) — Robert Hannigan played an important role in the formation of the RussiaGate narrative.
“The Guardian noted that Hannigan announced he would step down from his leadership position with the agency just three days after the inauguration of President Trump, on 23 January 2017.
Jane Mayer in her profile of Christopher Steele published in the New Yorker also noted that Hannigan had flown to Washington D.C. to personally brief the then-CIA Director John Brennan on alleged communications between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
What is so curious about this briefing “deemed so sensitive it was handled at director-level” is why Hannigan was talking director-to-director to the CIA and not Mike Rogers at the NSA, GCHQ’s Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partner.” [Elizabeth Vos — All Russiagate Roads Lead To London ]
END of UPDATE
Head of GCHQ demands online firms do more about security
New GCHQ Director — Jeremy Fleming
Jeremy Fleming has been Deputy Director General of MI5 since 2013. He will succeed Robert Hannigan, who announced unexpectedly in January his decision to step down once a successor was in place. Jeremy Fleming has taken up his post today (April 7 2017).
“It is a great privilege to be asked to lead GCHQ. The organisation has a distinguished past and an increasingly important role to play in keeping Britain safe in the digital age.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
On March 20 2017, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has announced that Jeremy Fleming has been appointed to succeed Robert Hannigan as Director GCHQ, with the agreement of the Prime Minister.
“Jeremy Fleming is a dedicated public servant whose work over two decades in the intelligence services has helped to keep our country safe. I congratulate Jeremy on his appointment as Director of GCHQ at an important time for the service. I know that he will continue the excellent work of Robert Hannigan in leading this outstanding organisation, when the skill and ingenuity of the UK intelligence community are critical to defending Britain from cyber-attacks, terror plots and other activities that threaten us and our allies.”
“From managing cyber risks posed by nation states to preventing terror attacks, keeping our children safe online and supporting our Armed Forces, the exceptional men and women of GCHQ operate on the new frontline of global challenges.”
“I’d like to pay tribute to Robert Hannigan, who over the last few years has led GCHQ through the transformation of some of our most important national security capabilities.”
“I look forward to building on his legacy and in particular, the role he has played in increasing the transparency of GCHQ’s crucial work and in expanding its cyber mission through the work of the National Cyber Security Centre.”
National Security Adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant
National Security Adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant — who chaired the recruitment process — said “Fleming emerged from a strong and competitive field as the outstanding candidate to become the next Director, GCHQ.”
“Fleming is a national security professional of the highest standard, who is widely respected across the national security community, in the UK and overseas.”
Sir Grant also thanked Robert Hannigan for “his excellent leadership of GCHQ over the last three years, including for the important role he played in preparations for the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act and in the setting up of the National Cyber Security Centre.”
Outgoing GCHQ Director, Robert Hannigan said that he was delighted that the Foreign Secretary has appointed Jeremy Fleming to be the new Director.
“I’ve known Jeremy for many years and he is a good friend and colleague. He comes with deep intelligence experience and expertise.”
Jeremy Fleming biography
Jeremy Fleming joined government from the private sector in 1993. He is a career MI5 officer with significant professional experience of national security and intelligence work, including international and Northern Ireland counter-terrorism, counter-espionage, cyber, and protective security.
Jeremy Fleming joined the Board of MI5 in 2005 with responsibility for Technology. He was seconded to the Home Office in 2007 to be the Director of Strategy for the newly formed Office for Counter Terrorism and led on the revision of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST.
On return to MI5, he became the Director for intelligence Collection, overseeing a significant uplift in digital capabilities. He was promoted to Assistant Director General in 2011 and led MI5’s preparations for the London 2012 Olympics.
Fleming was appointed Deputy Director General of MI5 in April 2013, with responsibility for the agency’s core operational work.
He has played a lead role in shaping the organisation to disrupt the changing face of the threat from terrorist groups and hostile state actors.
Cameras Film Inside GCHQ For The First Time
Foreign Secretary appoints new Director GCHQ — Official website
UK — Robert Hannigan steps down as GCHQ boss [Interview – Video]
One Year Ago — Robert Hannigan Steps Down As GCHQ Boss
Robert Hannigan Steps Down As GCHQ Boss [UPDATE — Hannigan Resigned Over Paedophile Priest Case]