Licence to tweet – new MI6 boss vows to use social media to headhunt staff

The new head of the Secret Intelligence Service signed off from his first day’s work with an unusual warning – that he would start an MI6 recruitment drive among his Twitter followers.

Richard Moore, a reasonably regular user of social media before his appointment as “C”, acknowledged there were “limits” to what would be deemed suitable for his nearly 100,000 Twitter followers, but promised to continue his visible online presence where appropriate.

And he vowed: “I’ll also try to persuade some of you to come and work for #MI6.”

Referencing beloved British secret service agents from the world of fiction, from the creative minds of Ian Fleming and John le Carre respectively, he added: “#Bond or #Smiley need not apply. They’re (splendid) fiction but actually we’re #secretlyjustlikeyou.”

It was announced in the summer that Mr Moore would leave as Foreign Office political director to succeed Sir Alex Younger as the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service.

Mr Moore, a former ambassador to Turkey, had previously held directorial roles in MI6 and was deputy national security adviser in the Cabinet Office.

John le Carre
John le Carre

His tenure begins at a time of increased tensions between Russia and the West, particularly due to allegations of Kremlin-backed poisoning of Russian dissidents.

Following his first day’s work on Thursday, Mr Moore wrote on his @ChiefMI6 Twitter account: “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.”

And in a light-hearted follow-up post, he wrote: “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”

The father-of-two was born in Libya, speaks fluent Turkish and is a keen golfer who enjoys watching cricket and rugby.

His interests are also said to include Turkish carpets and porcelain, and visiting historical sites.