Bleat: Knowledge is power — the MI6 prime directive

Black_sheep?By way of ran­dom link­age, I stumbled across this little gem of an art­icle by that old spook apo­lo­gist extraordin­aire, Con Cough­lin.  He’s writ­ing about the first pub­lic speech by a serving head of (SIS) MI6, which was addressed to the Soci­ety of Edit­ors last autumn.  Dear old Con­’s inter­pret­a­tion of events is slightly dif­fer­ent from mine at the time.….

The para­graph that leapt out at me was this:

Sir John Saw­ers, the cur­rent “C” in charge of MI6, made much the same point yes­ter­day in his ground-break­ing speech to the Soci­ety of Edit­ors. He explained that acquir­ing secret intel­li­gence, and keep­ing it secret, remains his organisation’s fun­da­ment­al objective.”

Well, excuse my naiv­ety but I thought that the role of the Brit­ish intel­li­gence agen­cies was to pro­tect “nation­al secur­ity”, whatever that might mean accord­ing to the fla­vour of the day, not merely to acquire and keep secrets.

Well, I obvi­ously remain irre­deem­ably ideal­ist­ic.  Per­haps, as my fath­er hope­fully states on occa­sion, one day I’ll even­tu­ally grow up.….