Director of the Government Communications Headquarters
The Director of the Government Communications Headquarters is the highest-ranking official in the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a British intelligence agency that specialises in signals intelligence and cryptography. The director is a Permanent Secretary, and appointed by and reports to the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom.
Though the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has ultimate responsibility within the British government for security matters and the intelligence agencies, the Foreign Secretary has day to day ministerial responsibility for GCHQ. The Director of GCHQ is also a permanent member of the United Kingdom's National Security Council and the Cabinet Office's Joint Intelligence Committee.
The role of the Director of GCHQ was outlined by the Intelligence Services Act 1994, in which the director is described as "...responsible for the efficiency of GCHQ". The director's role is to ensure that:
(a) That there are arrangements for securing that no information is obtained by GCHQ except so far as necessary for the proper discharge of its functions and that no information is disclosed by it except so far as necessary for that purpose or for the purpose of any criminal proceedings; and
(b) that GCHQ does not take any action to further the interests of any United Kingdom political party
The GCHQ director has become more publicly visible in the wake of the 2013 global surveillance disclosures. Sir Arthur Bonsall, director from 1973 to 1978, was the first director to speak publicly about his career at GCHQ when he was interviewed by the BBC in September 2013, and Sir Iain Lobban testified before parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee in the wake of the disclosures in November 2013. The director from 1989 to 1996, Sir John Adye, had previously spoken as a witness at the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in February 2008 to deny that GCHQ had any involvement in the tape recordings that led to the "Camillagate" or "Squidgygate" scandals.
List of GCHQ directors
|1||Alastair Denniston CMG CBE||1921-1942|
|2||Sir Edward Travis KCMG CBE||1942-1952|
|3||Sir Eric Jones KCMG CB CBE||1952-1960|
|4||Sir Clive Loehnis KCMG||1960–1964|
|5||Sir Leonard Hooper KCMG CBE||1965–1973|
|6||Sir Arthur Bonsall KCMG CBE||1973–1978|
|7||Sir Brian John Maynard Tovey KCMG||1978–1983|
|8||Sir Peter Marychurch KCMG||1983–1989|
|9||Sir John Anthony Adye KCMG||1989–1996|
|10||Sir David Omand GCB||1996–1997|
|11||Sir Kevin Tebbit KCB CMG||1998|
|12||Sir Francis Richards KCMG CVO DL||1998–2003|
|13||Sir David Pepper KCMG||2003–2008|
|14||Sir Iain Lobban KCMG CB||2008–2014|
|15||Robert Hannigan CMG||2014–present|
- "Permanent Secretaries". Her Majesty's Civil Service.
- "Ministerial responsibility". GCHQ. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Philip Jones (17 August 2012). Public Law and Human Rights Statutes 2012-2013. Routledge. pp. 125–. ISBN 978-0-415-63390-1.
- Steve Knibbs (8 September 2013). "Lifting the veil of secrecy on the intelligence service". BBC News Online. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "UK intelligence work defends freedom, say spy chiefs". BBC News Online. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "GCHQ 'did not tap Diana's phone'". BBC News Online. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Robert Hannigan (3 November 2014). "The web is a terrorist's command-and-control network of choice". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- Sam Jones and Murad Ahmed (3 November 2014). "Tech groups aid terror, says UK spy chief". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 November 2014.