back to article Head of GCHQ Robert Hannigan steps down for 'personal reasons'

The Director General of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, has announced his intention to step down as leader of the UK signals intelligence agency. Citing "personal reasons", Hannigan informed the UK's Foreign Secretary of his decision in an exchange of letters. His departure comes at a difficult time for the agency as pro-torture …

  1. imanidiot Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Right...

    "While this work must remain secret, you will know how many lives have been saved in this country and overseas by the work of GCHQ."

    Probably none or very few at most. --> Because GCHQ

  2. Marc 25

    Couldn't have chosen a worst time.

    The very fact that BoJo and Mistress May get to choose the next head of GCHQ just confirms how f*cked up the current situation has become.

    1. cynic 2

      Re: Couldn't have chosen a worst time.

      That's some quality optimistic thinking there.

      It could have been Corbyn doing the choosing. He'd probably borrow somebody from Venezuela.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Couldn't have chosen a worst time.

        For decades when they were up against the USSR the security services seem to have been exclusively staffed by KGB agents. Presumably the new boss will be in Al-Qaeda ?

        (apologies if that is spelt wrong - I didn't feel like Googling the spelling !)

    2. Tom 64
      Gimp

      Re: Couldn't have chosen a worst time.

      BoJo, Trump and May are probably the reason Hannigan is stepping down. I sure as hell wouldn't want to work with that trio.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Couldn't have chosen a worst time.

      Having Sheepdog and Zombie selecting our next head of GCHQ fills me with as much confidence as it would if they were selecting our Head of Royal Navy SLBM Missile Maintenance.

  3. Oh Homer
    Childcatcher

    "relentless 24-hour operational effort against tourism"

    Oh my weary and disquisitive eyes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snoopers Charter

    Possibly a self inflicted wound?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Snoopers Charter

      Rumour is, May asked for the Snoopers Charter to be applied to all employees at GCHQ first and for Hannigan to produce a report. He didn't much like that. A clean sweep, as they say.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Snoopers Charter

        May asked for the Snoopers Charter to be applied to all employees at GCHQ first

        Whilst I'm opposed to the Snooper's Charter, I would have thought that all GCHQ employees would be subject to digital surveillance, and if having an IQ in positive numbers, would reasonably expect to be subject to the same.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Snoopers Charter

          "May asked for the Snoopers Charter to be applied to all employees at GCHQ first"

          As long as it also included every politician and public servant in the land as well, with NO exceptions.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably a good idea

    For him to be leaving before Trump drags the UK as willing toadies partners in some nonsense that will be even more damaging than rendition. Because who ever is head of GCHQ at that time will carry the can.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge
    Holmes

    "Hannigan said he was proud of the "relentless 24-hour operational effort against terrorism, crime and many other national security threats."

    Would the "other national security threats" be the freedom and privacy of ordinary Joe Public that your organisation has been spying on?

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Prime Advanced IntelAIgent Leadership or Sub-Prime Establishment Followers?

    There will now be an internal competition within government to identify candidates (our guess) to succeed Hannigan for onward recommendation to the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister.

    And we all know the result of incestuous relationships, don't we. There is a certain arrogance, methinks, to think that what is needed for intelligence to flourish and provide succour and prosperity is to be maintained and confined in-house, in an exceeding small sampling.

    However, one should not be surprised when such is simple PAR for UK government courses. They just haven't moved on yet into the 21st century, have they?

    Do intelligence communities take over and rule governments, or do governments take over and rule intelligence communities, although in the latter case would one have to concede and agree that the community is then not intelligent at all. And all or any of that being true fact, extraordinarily renders Blighty, and that which,and those who are in any way dependent upon its politically correct and adept services, easy prey to catastrophic smarter attack and flash crash smash and grab raids.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Prime Advanced IntelAIgent Leadership or Sub-Prime Establishment Followers?

      I hope against hope that I'm proven wrong, but my money would be on "Sub-Prime Establishment Followers".

      Come on, commentards - who would you nominate?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prime Advanced IntelAIgent Leadership or Sub-Prime Establishment Followers?

        GCHQ is a Civil Service stronghold. Ergo, I vote for the Prime Advanced IntelAIgent Leadership.

        Hums the title music to "Yes, Minster"...

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Rees-Mogg next I'll wager.

    But only because Boris has a US passport.

  9. Smooth Newt
    WTF?

    "terrorism, crime and many other national security threats."

    Crime is a national security threat now, is it?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: "terrorism, crime and many other national security threats."

      Well, duh, obviously!

      1) RIPA will only be used to tackle terrorism and national security threats.

      2) RIPA was used to tackle dog fouling

      Ergo: dog fouling is a national security threat

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "terrorism, crime and many other national security threats."

        "dog fouling is a national security threat"

        Well, duh, yeah. All those IoT dog feeders get hacked and feed the dogs the whole days food at once. Then all those IoT pet-flaps open and millions of dogs are out shitting on the streets of the nation and people are slipping, falling and breaking limbs, left right and centre. It's a Dogageddon I tell ya!

        Every threat must be taken seriously and acted on!!!

      2. CheeseTriangles

        Re: "terrorism, crime and many other national security threats."

        "Ergo: dog fouling is a national security threat"

        Trying to get your child into a school when you don't live in its catchment area - also a national security threat.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "terrorism, crime and many other national security threats."

          Sending your child to a state school is a national security threat

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not just keep an eye on his family...

    ... using your unlimited and unsupervised survellance snooping powers.

    If its good enough for the rest of us, its good enough for your clan.

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    Oddly the GCHQ seems to not be a PPE graduate.

    They (he or she) will no doubt have to be on board with the data fetishist agenda.

  12. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Aha! Prime time tv ...

    "There will now be an internal competition within government to identify candidates "

    I don't think we should discuss who the candidates are by how they'll be selected ...

    My suggestions would be a dance-off on BBC TV's new show "Come Spying" or a GCHQ variation on The Cube called "The Roundy Roundy Thing"

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Prime Time TV ... The Rise of Global Operating Device Machines on the Discover Recovery Channel

      Certainly any worthy candidate, Andy the Hat, would be/should be expert in televised programming of hearts and mind operations, for such is definitely what all supposed secret and proposed sensitive intelligence services are confronted with and be competing presently so very badly against.

      Do you imagine ancestored incestuous status quo missions are always doomed to revealing of their systemic inadequacies failures because they be defending and championing the indefensible and inequitable and would do wanton battle and wage futile war against free information and AI with ITs new global virtual space base programming?

  13. John Styles

    Retired to spend more time naked in a red North Face bag in a bath padlocked from the inside.

  14. mediabeing

    It was just too tough for you to spell out what 'GCHQ' stands for, first, upfront, eh?

    You've somehow decided that all people everywhere know what the fuck 'GCHQ' stand for, huh?

    Shame on you. Tune in. Figure it out. Treat your readers RIGHT. Sheesh!

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