He hasn’t said much since being appointed Chief of SIS (UK Foreign intelligence service) in July 2020 but on 20 July 2023 Richard Moore marked three years in the post by making a speech during a visit to Prague to celebrate UK/Czech intelligence co-operation. (How times have changed: see “The Postcard Spy” above – it is possible that the details were released from the Czech archives to mark Moore’s visit.).
This is Moore’s first public appearance this year – and he only tends to make one a year. There were two main themes to his speech: 1) He repeated CIA Director William Burns’s recent line that Russians who are disgusted by Putin’s treatment of the Ukrainians should work with MI6. However, Moore did not announce a website similar to the one that the CIA have provided for likely recruits and announced on Telegram, Russia’s most popular messaging app. Apparently the CIA site had 2.5 million hits in the first week alone. 2) The central theme of Moore’s speech was the the continung need for human agents in intelligence gathering at a time when electronic intelligence dominates the field. He also mentioned artificial intelligence (AI) saying that human agents can find secrets that AI would never spot. He denied recent suggestions that AI could: “put intelligence services like mine out of business.” He said that AI may be able to “trawl the ocean of open source material” but that human agents can “obtain secrets beyond the nets.” Sounds a bit fishy to us. (Ho ho).