MI5 and MI6

MI5 and MI6
   The names MI5 and MI6 are short forms of Military Intelligence, Section 5 and Section 6. The overall head of intelligence is the Chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee, to which post Pauline Neville-Jones was appointed in 1994. Section 5 is the counter-intelligence agency, until recently under the director-generalship of Stella Rimmington, appointed in 1992. Section 6 is the secret intelligence agency, which works primarily under Foreign Office control. It has operated under the direction of David Spedding since 1994. The peacetime existence of MI6 had previously been denied altogether. Though the base at GCHQ in Cheltenham had long been known, since 1991 greater information concerning the intelligence services has been released into the public domain (it is now known, for example, that MI6 now occupies London’s Vauxhall Cross (built 1989–92)). Most controversially, in the 1990s MI5 was deemed in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights because it carried out clandestine surveillance of campaigners for civil liberties.
   See also: secret services

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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