Leonard Hooper

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Person.png Leonard Hooper  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Lj hooper.png
Born23 July 1914
Died19 February 1994 (Age 79)
Alma materWorcester College (Oxford), London School of Economics
A former head of GCHQ.

Employment.png Director of GCHQ Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
December 1965 - December 1973
Preceded byClive Loehnis
Succeeded byArthur Bonsall

Sir Leonard James (Joe) Hooper was a Director of GCHQ, a post he held from December 1965 to December 1973, then Coordinator for Intelligence and Security.[1]


Hooper was educated at Alleyn's School in South East London and Worcester College (Oxford).[2], where he graduated in 1936 with first-class honors in modern history. Following two years at the London School of Economics[3], Hooper joined the Government Code and Cypher School in August 1938, and was based at Bletchley Park during World War II.[4] He stayed on with the organisation after the war, which became GCHQ, and, after five years as deputy director, served as its director from January 1965 to November 1973.[4]

He developed a close transatlantic bond. In July 1969, as Director of GCHQ, Leonard Hooper told his US counterpart: ‘I have often felt closer to you than to most of my own staff.’[5], and used his US colleagues in 1970 to get a signal intelligence station built in Morwenstow, near Bude in Cornwall, even though the operational justification to the United Kingdom for building this station was thin. Hooper admitted as much in a private letter to the Director of the American NSA,General Marshal S.(Pat) Carter[6]:

I have leaned shamefully on you, and sometimes taken your name in vain, when I needed approval for something at this end. The aerials at Bude ought to be christened 'Pat' and 'Louis' (after the Director of the NSA and his deputy).

He was the Intelligence Coordinator in the Cabinet Office from 1973 to 1978.[4][1]