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Group.png MI6   History Commons Namebase Powerbase WebsiteRdf-icon.png
MI6 HQ Building London, viewed from the North bank of the River Thames
Secret Intelligence Service logo.svg
Motto Semper Occultus
(Always Secret)
Predecessor Secret Service Bureau
Formation 1909
Type Intelligence agency
Headquarters SIS Building, London
Leader Chief of the SIS
Alex Younger.jpg
Incumbent: Alex Younger
Since 1 November 2014
Subgroups • Irish Joint Section
• Global Issues Controllerate
Staff 3,200
Interest of Richard M. Bennett, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
Exposed by Compton Mackenzie
SubpageMI6/Black budget

MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service is a UK intelligence agency charged with foreign intelligence and operations. Its full name is HM Secret Intelligence Service[citation needed]. Its headquarters (right) are at 85 Vauxhall Cross, London, on the South Bank of the river Thames Map. It is not to be confused with MI5, which focuses on the UK. Some rivalry exists between the two groups.

Official Narrative

The group became known publicly in the 1932 book Greek Memories, by MI6 agent Compton Mackenzie, though the book was banned and Mackenzie fined for breeching the Official Secrets Act.[1] Until 1994, the organisation was not officially acknowledged to exist. The official narrative was written in 2010 by Keith Jeffery and launched with help of John Scarlett.[2] Jeffery states that MI6 has a "remarkable level of achievement" and that "I looked very hard for 'bad stuff'.. in the end I found less evidence than perhaps we might have expected, certainly less evidence than I might have expected as the amateur espionage fiction buff that I was."[3] Impressed by documents relating to Operation Embarrass, he appears not to have considered that this revelation might be a limited hangout.


Full article: MI6/Black budget

Before it was even officially admitted to exist, on 9 December 1993, the Lord Chancellor, James Mackay remarked that in the post-Cold War era, the UK’s SIS was "not purely an information-gathering service" but also "tasked by Government to carry out other valuable services".[4] MI6 claims accountability for its operations, by the 1940s MI6 already had a multi-million pound black budget to fund black ops.[5]

MI6's claim of higher ethical standards is undermined by its uncritical promotion of narratives such as the "war on terror". In Decemer 2016, Alex Younger told journalists that "terrorism" was the most immediate threat to the UK.[6]

State sponsored murder

On 19th February 2008 when speaking to an inquest about the premature death of Princess Diana, former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove publicly confirmed that MI6 agents may be granted a licence to kill (contradicted by the 2010 Guardian report of the official narrative[3]). Dearlove admitted that, under the UK's Intelligence Services Act, MI6 agents were allowed to conduct illegal activities in the interests of national security, if given the written permission of the UK Foreign Secretary for a "Class Seven authorisation". However, to the clear disbelief of some in the public gallery, Dearlove claimed that this had never happened during his career in the service and that lethal force "played no part in the policy of Her Majesty's government".[7] In April 2009 the former shadow home secretary, David Davis, asked how many such authorisation have been signed in recent years, he was told that the figure was confidential because "it would assist those unfriendly to the UK".[8]

Demand for public disclosure

On 13 May 2014, former diplomat Patrick Haseldine emailed David Cameron to request he "open all MI6 files on state sponsored murders".[9][10][11][12]


The given value was not understood.

Events carried out

1975 Australian coup15 October 1975 - 11 November 1975Canberra
Iran/1953 coup d'état15 August 1953 - 19 August 1953Iran
Operation Crevice30 March 2004
Operation Embarrass14 February 1947 - 1948
Operation Mass Appeal

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Getting it Rightarticle2011Lobster MagazineA realistic appraisal of the functioning and lack of EFFECTIVE political oversight of the UK Secret Intelligence Services
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