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‘Black box’: MI6 chief sizes up China’s seemingly unlimited intelligence threat

MI6 headquarters in London
FPI / July 28, 2022

[MI6 is still cool and, according to spy movie lore, more astute and efficient than the American CIA. But no James Bond has penetrated the Chinese Communist Party’s ‘Black Box. Is western intelligence being destroyed by a massive and direct Chinese Communist intelligence offensive?]

China’s intelligence operation is “extraordinarily well resourced” with “hundreds of thousands” of civilian intelligence officers dispatched to steal secrets and technology worldwide, the chief of Great Britain’s MI6 intelligence service said.

The Chinese military also is engaged in aggressive spying operations, Richard Moore said in rare public remarks on July 21.

“What is different is that we are putting more effort into China, and we now devote more effort to China than any other single subject,” Moore said. The China intelligence target “just moved past counterterrorism in terms of our mission.”

Unlike its CIA counterpart, MI6 (or Secret Intelligence Service) is a dedicated human spying agency that does not engage in intelligence analysis, Moore said of the agency that was made famous by novelist Ian Fleming’s James Bond movies and by former MI6 officer John le Carre’s espionage novels.

“MI6 has never had any illusions about communist China,” said Moore, who is a former MI6 spy recruiter with extensive overseas experience.

There is growing recognition in governments and Western publics about the threats posed by the Chinese to free societies, Moore added.

MI6 is working to help policymakers deal with China from a position of strength while trying to get ahead of Chinese threats, he said, adding that the agency works closely with the CIA. The challenge for MI6 is the opaque communist system in China that is very difficult to penetrate.

“U.S. intelligence officials have said Chinese counterspies rolled up scores of recruited U.S. agents in China beginning in 2010. The intelligence failure has limited the ability of U.S. intelligence to obtain secrets,” security correspondent Bill Gertz, who has reported extensively on China’s intelligence agencies, noted.

Chinese intelligence operations were the focus of recent joint speeches by FBI Director Christopher Wray and Ken McCallum, director of the British domestic intelligence agency MI5.

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FPI, Free Press International
hqmi6 by is licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

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