(Reuters) – Britain has named Alex Younger, a career spy who helped lead London’s counter-terrorist defence of the 2012 Olympics, as chief of its MI6 Secret Intelligence Service – Britain’s most prestigious intelligence job.
An economics graduate and former soldier, Younger has worked for MI6 in Europe, the Middle East and Afghanistan since 1991, according to a short biography released by the government.
In appointing a career spy, Prime Minister David Cameron has reverted to tradition. His predecessor, diplomat John Sawers – appointed under former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 – was the first outsider in the job.
At the time of Sawers appointment, Britain was grappling with political fallout from the weapons-of-mass-destruction dossier compiled under Brown’s predecessor, Tony Blair, and the subsequent invasion of Iraq. The intelligence services had come under heavy criticism for their part in that.
“Good appointment,” said Charlie Edwards, director of national security and resilience studies at the Royal United Service Institute in London.
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