'Of course MI6 have been recruiting foreign born spies, it's what they do'

10 February 2021, 20:40 | Updated: 10 February 2021, 20:43

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

'Of course MI6 has been recruiting foreign-born spies, it's what they do,' an intelligence expert has told LBC.

With the news MI6 is set to start recruiting foreign-born officers for the first time in a bid to increase diversity LBC spoke to an intelligence expert.

The Secret Intelligence Service hopes to recruit from the 'biggest talent pool' and build a team with a 'diversification of thought, a diverse workforce, not people who all think in similar ways', the Daily Mail reported.

Potential officers will no longer need to be born in the UK in order to apply to MI6, but they are still required to hold British citizenship.

Speaking to Iain Dale was Professor Anthony Glees the Director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham.

The MI6 HQ has been nicknamed "Legoland" by some wags within the intelligence community due to its odd shape
The MI6 HQ has been nicknamed "Legoland" by some wags within the intelligence community due to its odd shape. Picture: PA

Professor Glees pointed out there seemed to be some confusion over the term "agent".

"Of course MI6, for over a hundred years, has been recruiting foreign spies, it's what MI6 does."

He pointed out that what was actually happening was that the intelligence service was set to change its recruitment policy around officers.

Within the British intelligence and security community, the term officer is used to describe a staff member employed by the agency and an agent is the asset which they run.

Agents tend to be foreign-born individuals who are recruited into spying for Britain.

But, Professor Glees pointed out potential MI6 officers will now have to have one parent who is or was a British citizen or with 'substantial ties' to the UK in order to be eligible to apply.

Explaining why it was happening, Professor Glees cited an example of an agent infiltrating an Islamist terrorist group.

He pointed out that the change in recruitment policies was due to a change in the kind of threats the UK is facing.

During a fascinating interview, Iain Dale was able to elicit some interesting examples from the intelligence expert.