back to article UK intel chief says MI6 must outsource innovation – and James Bond's in-house 'Q' is nonsense

The head of the UK's secretive Military Intelligence Section 6 agency – popularly known as MI6 – has delivered a rare speech in which he has warned that China, Iran, and Russia use information technology to destabilise rivals, and that the agency he leads can no longer rely on in-house innovation to develop the technologies the …

  1. Claverhouse Silver badge


    I'm sure a number of firms with English syllables randomly crammed together as with cheap SSDs and components from a certain large country for sale on the big marts, can from that country join in the bidding process, eventually to be signed off by one of our joke ministers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outsourcing

      Anyone want to start up a company called Universal Exports to bid for it? Or Transworld Consortium?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Outsourcing

        You could call it Drax Industries or Carver Media Group and they still wouldn't notice.

        Here's an idea - do the outsourcing from the top down, starting with Richard Moore.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Dominic Cummings

    have a white pussy cat?

    1. NonSSL-Login

      Re: Does Dominic Cummings

      He had a white Labrador and a white stick while walking around Barnard castle if that counts

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Does Dominic Cummings

      Any relation to Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming?

  3. _LC_

    "China is on the march, Russia loves to destabilise, no intelligence agency can stop 'em without help"

    Known mass-shitting dog says “cat poops on your lawn”.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Are you saying that because our dog is incontinent, we should just ignore the cat?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think you misspelled incompetent in this case... ;)

    2. Stone Fox

      ah yes, the old "everyone is just as bad" logical fallacy so beloved of the 55 Savushkina street trash.

      As predictable as it is pathetic and inaccurate.

  4. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Richard Moore


    1. Swarthy

      Re: Richard Moore

      Are you implying that Roger Moore would have been a Moore appropriate choice, even now?

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Wannabe Master Controller .... is a Leading Question for any Relatively Anonymous M/C/Q

    What MI6 now need in these changed and strange times with novel spaces, and it is well enough, correctly enough stated by the current head of the UK's secretive Military Intelligence Section 6 agency, Richard Moore, in his relatively short speech [ available for reading here ...] .... would surely also render national publicly elected governments their servants rather than the likes of a Westminster Parliamentary Executive Office System presuming and assuming that particular and peculiar role of command as being exclusively theirs to exercise, and for which they are manifestly proven/proving to be catastrophically ill equipped for.

    Are Secret Intelligence Service memberships themselves prepared for that exciting opportunity and AWEsome virtual duty ..... for such is easily made available to them via effective engagement with provisional sources able to supply and driver special forces/mentor and monitor future events?

    A simple enough question to answer if one is made of the right stuff with a realistic understanding of the problems to be comprehensively solved via practically almighty remote virtual means.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Wannabe Master Controller .... and Next Logical Small Steps/Giant Quantum Leaps

      And also, as is the spooky entanglement at a remote distance nature of a comment exploring/engaging/exercising quantum communication control systems command, a simple enough answer to question if one is made of the right stuff with a realistic understanding of the problems to be comprehensively solved via practically almighty remote virtual means.

      And yes, that is M/C/Q/Richard Moore/Military Industrial ComplexITs being called out to walk the walk with [s]a[/s] novel virulent and vital and easily violent and venerable strains of private and pirate sector enterprise and endeavour in order to collectively benefit from the resultant advantageous leading positions established JOINT AIdVenturing rather than continuing to languish and suffocate in the swamps of mayhem and madness that have them tilting at ethereal windmills and fighting feral phantoms in desperate rearguard actions after the fact whenever talk the talk is all they offer in the Phorm of an Almighty Public Phish hastily designed to bait the bear and discover as best they can what lies in wait for them in the safe haven comfort that is always afforded to the generally great unknown in the Shadows and Shade of Blinding Bright Lights that accompany every NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive Explosion.

      And Full Unexpurgated Transparency for Future Presentations of Current Deliberations is perfectly delivered via Registered Universal Web Reply to Applications Building Upon Sublime Alien Proposals .... for when some things are just far too dangerous to remain secret and be thought exclusive elite executive proprietary intellectual property is knowledge the omniscient power that sets you free to please and appease all worthy of divine attention.

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Fear the frightening foreigner!

    "Moore said China uses social media to distort global debate, employs surveillance technology within its borders, seeks to export its methods to other nations, and has exported millions of potentially compromised items like security cameras around the world."

    As far as I can work out, he seems to be saying that the UK is just like China, minus the camera exporting business.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Fear the frightening foreigner!

      We're creating our problems - over the years I've watched so many things move from being manufactured locally in various countries to being manufactured abroad ... and now, with the pandemic shortages, I just received a list of more than a hundred components that are back ordered for the next 8 to 10 months!

      So essentially our economic environment is now controlled by other counties - this is a problem that we created ourselves.

      1. Bitsminer Silver badge

        Re: Fear the frightening foreigner!

        our economic environment is now controlled by other count[r]ies

        Welcome to the New Colonialism. All your Factories are Belong to Us!

      2. Dr. Vagmeister

        Re: Fear the frightening foreigner!

        When i design and build my electronics as a hobby, i always use British components.... and that then ends up just being the transformer and PCB's.

        For the PCB's the cost using a UK manufacturer is generally cost 8x more than using Chinese PCB's delivered.

        Our government and the EU have been woefully incompetent here. (i know it is a simplistic statement)

  7. werdsmith Silver badge

    Of course the boss would deny the capability of their in house design. As MRD said. However, my radio amateur friends who were trained and worked their life at a certain government communication research facility do seem to have some other-worldly tech skills.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Hiding Lights under Bushels and Shady Skills in the Shadows has the Blind Leading the Blinded

      Of course the boss would deny the capability of their in house design. As MRD said. However, my radio amateur friends who were trained and worked their life at a certain government communication research facility do seem to have some other-worldly tech skills. ..... werdsmith

      Is no seemly evidence of some other-worldly tech skills prime indicative of an absence of necessary other-worldly tech skills, werdsmith?

      If they’ve got it with specific regard to presently required future abilities/facilities/utilities, what possible acceptable excuse do they offer for not flaunting it and being dauntless and AWEsome for both the private and pirate sectors have ready foreign markets for ....... well, Spooky Stealthy Ware Fare is an APT Product Line descriptor for such ACTive CyberIntelAIgent Treats with Almighty Persistent Threat Promotions.

  8. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    On Russia, he said Vladimir Putin's regime has no qualms running deniable operations like the attack on SolarWinds.

    Suspected Chinese hackers used SolarWinds bug to spy on U.S. payroll agency – sources

    Surprisingly lenient view on China...

    1. batfink

      Re: Interesting

      Meh - he's just getting his great enemies du jour mixed up. It is hard to keep track. you know.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If the head of SIS is unhappy about James Bond films, why does he let the film studio make those documentaries?

  10. Grivas Bo Diddly Harm

    Derwent Pencil Museum

    There's a great little exhibition for a rainy day (i.e. every day) at the museum on the special pencils developed for bomber crew if they had to bale (bail?) out over occupied territory.

    Charles Fraser-Smith, that classic English eccentric with lateral brain that we're so good at throwing up on occasion, was a boffin-type attached to MI9, charged with helping escape and evasion. He came up with the idea of a tiny compass hidden in the rubber end of standard navigators' pencils and - after having been carefully drilled out overnight when the factory was closed - silk maps rolled up and inserted in the pencil. The end was screwed back on with a contra-rotating thread, as the logical German mind was thought not to be able to entertain the concept of undoing something the 'wrong' way. The pencils were innocuously stamped with a slightly different model number from standard ones.

    Oh yes, and Fraser-Smith's section of MI9 was named 'Q', with a nod to the naval ships - Q ships - disguised as freighters.

  11. druck Silver badge


    MI6 boss Richard Moore (whose initial, one notes, is 'M')

    But is known as 'C'.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: M/C

      Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, the first head of MI6, or "C".

      see last 2 paragraphs

      Now, whilst "C" is implied to be from the surname, equally, "M" can be for the first name.

  12. Daniel von Asmuth


    Maybe the UK should join the EU in order to build a European electronics and computing industry:-)

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Brinit

      Spent 40 years trying that. What's your suggestion for doing it better?

      1. Swarthy

        Re: Brinit

        Not outsourcing everything to Asia for cheap labour?

  13. Dom 3

    Why is the Secret Intelligence Service referred to as "Military Intelligence Section 6"?

    As for Q:

    1. Dr. G. Freeman
      Black Helicopters

      according to wiki;

      During World War I, British secret services were divided into numbered sections named Military Intelligence, department number x, abbreviated to MIx, such as MI1 for information management.

      Wonder if MI16 is still going ?

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        3-7, 4-5

        So what’s CI5 then?

  14. Abominator

    Someone is lining themselves up for a nice job in the private sector.

  15. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    'debt traps and data traps'

    Earlier in the day, he gave an interview on the Today programme...

    MI6 boss warns of China 'debt traps and data traps'

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    "He said the green ink means those working in the service know any directive has been signed by him. "The same is true of my typescript on my computer," he added."

    Last paragraph...

  17. martinusher Silver badge

    Destabilization R Us

    Both the UK and the US government spend significant amounts of money promoting democracy around the globe so I suppose its natural to assume that China, Russia and Iran do the same thing. Except the don't, at least not in the way that the SuperSpy thinks. China exports literally everything and its this that's the primary driver behind people's perception of the country, especially in less developed states where China is setting a great example of how to manage post-colonial development. Russia is quite prosperous as a country, its main revenge (if there is such a thing) is to "live well". Iran is holding up surprisingly well considering the ongoing attempts by the West to crush it. They're today's "Axis of Evil" (remember that phrase?). They exist to provide a distraction, an external threat that our politicians can use to disguise their own incompetence and impotence. Its an old trick but obviously one that's worked time and again.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Destabilization R Us

      They're today's "Axis of Evil" (remember that phrase?). They exist to provide a distraction, an external threat that our politicians can use to disguise their own incompetence and impotence. Its an old trick but obviously one that's worked time and again. .... martinusher

      It’s now though, martinusher, too fully recognised by far too many with the nous and wherewithall to do something dramatic and effectively great game changing about it, as an old trick that previously worked time and again against an easily petrified and common ignorant foe/populace ..... and which nowadays no longer can exist to such a convenient unfortunate degree because of the information and intelligence which is constantly escaping worldswide into rabid for new knowledge and novel common sense audiences sublimely internetworking with myriad groups of their peers in an Advanced IntelAIgent Leadership Mentoring and Monitoring Future Eventful Programs and Virtual Projects in an AWEsome Operation.

    2. Stone Fox

      Re: Destabilization R Us

      What a pathetic load of tedious propaganda lies.

      Peoples perception (and dislike) of China is down to them being the first nation to beat Hitlers' body count for executing innocent minorities in death camps.

      Along with organ harvesting, forced sterilization, mass censorship and repression, complete lack of human rights or transparency, evil neo-colonial threats against peaceful democratic Taiwan.

      The exact same is true of 3rd world Russia, they're despised because they invaded Ukraine, shot down a Dutch jet liner and lied about it, murdered civilians in Europe with banned chemical and radiological weapons, attacked several European labs and paid hordes of troll scum to flood social media with pathetic propaganda lies.

      And no, 3rd world Russia isn't "quite prosperous", quite the opposite. The have an economy worth less than New York city, 20th by total wealth, just after Belgium. They spend less per head on education and healthcare than the south American average, their average wage, standard of living, murder rate and HIV prevalence far more resemble a nation in Sub Saharan Africa than Eurasia.

      They are the "Axis of evil" purely because of evil deeds. Not propaganda, not because anyone wants them to be, purely because they are evil, by action.

  18. LybsterRoy Silver badge

    Why do I seem the only person wondering when Intel appointed a UK head and what the state of MI6 has to do with him / her / whatever.

    Also why has the sub head writer not capitalised the I in Intel?

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