If you’ve heard enough from fictional MI6 officers and leaders in movies and shows, then we have news for you. The actual MI6 spy chief Richard Moore has made his first public statement since claiming the position, and it comes out tenser than not. Moore did not hold back, as he declared in no particular order, China, Russia, Iran, and international terrorism, to be the top four security threats to Britain.
Moore spoke at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, talking in detail about each of these threats and how they come to be so. As the MI6 spy chief, he left no hints as he clearly mentioned that his organization will continue efforts to tackle issues pertaining to each of these entities.
Regarding China and its overall role in the U.K’s defense, the MI6 spy chief hardly sugarcoated his words as he called it, ‘an authoritarian state with different values than ours’. He accused China of “enabling a web of authoritarian control,” “conducting large-scale espionage operations,” and “distorting public discourse and political decision-making,” in not just the U.K. but around the world.
“Beijing’s growing military strength and the party’s desire to resolve the Taiwan issue, by force if necessary, also pose a serious challenge to global stability and peace,” said the MI6 spy chief, adding that, “The Chinese Communist Party increasingly favor decisive action justified on national security grounds. Beijing believes its own propaganda about Western frailties and under-estimates Washington’s resolve. The risk of Chinese miscalculation through overconfidence is real.”
Moore continued by taking up Russia and highlighting how the country’s attempts at compromising the U.K. with cyberattacks, interference in the democratic procedures as well as attempts at assassinations, highlighting the poisoning of spy Sergei Skripal in 2018, all conclude what Moore has summarised for us.
“We and our allies and partners must stand up to and deter Russian activity which contravenes the international rules-based system,” the MI6 spy chief Moore concurred, “No country in Europe or beyond should be seduced into thinking that unbalanced concessions to Russia bring better behavior,” talking about Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Following that, he mentioned Hezbollah — “a state within a state”, the militant group from Iran that adds to the threats. This in addition to the overall terrorist activity globally, which he noted has increased and will further continue up after the undemocratic takeover of the Afghan government by the Taliban, since the Biden administration withdrew from the country after decades of “war on terror.”
“I won’t soft soap it: The threat we face will likely grow now we have left Afghanistan,” said Moore regarding heightened terrorism and its impact on the U.K. and its allies.
He further argued the need to collaborate with technology firms and adapt to Artificial Intelligence and other relative technologies in order to overcome and face these threats head-on. “Our adversaries are pouring money and ambition into mastering artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology, because they know that mastering these technologies will give them leverage,” the MI6 spy chief said.
Amidst this intense talk, he went so far in being casual regarding likely wars and violent disputes by bringing up a pop-culture reference from the 007 movies. “Unlike Q in the Bond movies, we cannot do it all in-house,” referring to the agency’s collaboration with private tech companies and communities to ensure solutions to their needs in the process. Moore is the first head of MI6 to have an original public Twitter account.