Sir Alexander William Younger

Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service

2014 to date

Photo: Courtesy of the London Evening Standard

Sir Alexander William Younger KCMG (born 4 July 1963) is a career British intelligence officer for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) who, since November 2014, has served as the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, succeeding Sir John Sawers on his retirement. In April 2019, the Government extended Sir Alex's contract to maintain stability through the Brexit negotiations, a move which would make him the longest-serving MI6 chief in 50 years.

Sir Alex was sponsored by the British Army through university. He was commissioned into the Royal Scots on 5 September 1986 as a second lieutenant (on probation). As a University Candidate he was a full-time student at university and trained in his spare time. On 10 December 1986, he transferred to the Scots Guards. On 16 June 1987, his commission was confirmed and dated to 5 September 1986; this signified the start of his full-time military service. He was granted seniority in the rank of second lieutenant from 9 April 1983. He was promoted to lieutenant, which was back dated to 5 September 1986, and was granted seniority from 9 April 1985. He was promoted to captain on 5 April 1989. On 10 April 1990, he transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, thereby ending his active military service.  Sir Alex joined SIS in 1991. Sir Alex served in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He became head of counter-intelligence in 2009, in which role he was involved in security for the London Olympics 2012. He became Deputy Director in 2012, before being nominated as Chief in October 2014. 

In December 2018 Sir Alex gave a rare speech at the University of St Andrews, making emphasis of the need for fourth-generation espionage and fusing human skills with technical innovation. This was the second public speech in the four years since his appointment as "C" of the MI6. During the speech Younger addressed the case of Matthew Hedges, British university student who was arrested in Dubai and later convicted of being the Captain of British MI6, in which capacity he allegedly worked as an undercover agent in the UAE. Younger said he was perplexed by what has happened and that there are some frank conversations ahead between Britain and the UAE.  Hedges was later pardoned by UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and reunited with his wife in the UK.

Sir Alex is passionate about helping charitable causes and has helped to raise money for Help for Heroes, The Poppy Factory charity, Sea Cadets Foundation, The Royal British Legion, Women's Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust, The Officers' Association, SAS Regimental Association, SAS Clocktower Foundation, Forces Pension Society and other charities.

Previous Chiefs of the Secret Intelligence Service
  • 1903–1909

  • 1909–1923

  • 1923–1939

  • 1939–1952

  • 1953–1956

  • 1956–1968

  • 1968–1973

  • 1973–1978

  • 1979–1982

  • 1982–1985

  • 1985–1989

  • 1989–1994

  • 1994–1999

  • 1999–2004

  • 2004–2009

  • 2009–2014

  • 2014–pres

William Melville

Captain Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, RN

Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair

Major-General Sir Stewart Menzies

Major-General Sir John Sinclair

Sir Richard White

Sir John Rennie

Sir Maurice Oldfield

Sir Arthur (Dickie) Franks

Sir Colin Figures

Sir Christopher Curwen

Sir Colin McColl

Sir David Spedding

Sir Richard Dearlove

Sir John Scarlett

Sir John Sawers

t: Sir Alex Younger[13]

Intelligence Reports

14 April 2020

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21 March 2020

Neurodiversity & ASD within the Secret Intelligence Services

Some have gone as far as to say that the 'diverse' represent the next step in the evolutionary process.  Maybe.  But, ignore the Neurodiverse at your peril!

12 May 2020

A Government Department of Virus Safety

A Government run, uniform and credible safety certificate to be used across the board, would benefit UK business greatly.

Wuhan conspiracy theories aside, diplomatic traction is the reward.


A week or two ago we wrote an article "Conspiracies & Ripples" which focused primarily on conspiracy theories and kicked off with the rather obvious statement that a conspiracy theory is simply a theory without the facts i.e. just a theory.  Within that we highlighted that ‘flavour of the month’ theorist’s delight, the origins of the Coronavirus and its links to Wuhan.  This echoed our views published in February which, as many did, ponder the chances of this remote coincidence maybe actually being true.  Since then there have been swathes of articles on the topic citing all sort of sources and from numerous ‘renowned’ scientists.  We have also recently had the opinions offered by those whose opinions really count, that this virus originating from the labs in Wuhan may not actually be so far-fetched after all.

We do tend to agree, or at least we did.  That was then and this is now and in the world of Politics things move quickly and one does have to look at the reality of the situation.  If there is enough fog between you and your destination, then sometimes the route you take can change, leaving you all sorts of options.  If the objective was originally to circumnavigate through uncertain waters to establish who, what, why and when the virus came about – then that is now lost in the fog.  It is arbitrary.  Now we have something that is far more concrete and tangible to use to our advantage – we have uncertainty.  We now have enough debate and conspiracy to render the findings of the scientists open to interpretation.  And that… is a diplomat’s dream come true.   This particular carcass will feed many and although the WHO will go in, on the ground, and no doubt find yet more uncertainty…it really is irrelevant.  You will certainly not find individual government’s chomping at the bit to send their representatives into Wuhan anytime soon, and even if they did, why?  Wuhan is not some sleepy suburb in leafy Northamptonshire… it is in China.  Whatever was there has long gone, if indeed it was ever even there.  So perhaps it would be wise to assume that at least for the next few decades this is a conspiracy that will never find out those salient facts. 

Now, listening to the scientists, there is an overwhelming urge to say, “shush now”.  Step back ladies and gentlemen and look at the bigger picture at play.  Nobody is actually interested whether or not the virus started in Wuhan, intentionally or not.  As long as it is open to debate, it is far more valuable.  The scientists have debated at length and argued, but there is still no unequivocal proof either way that satisfies all parties…and why could that be?  Scientific fact is not open to debate or questioning, that is a given.  However, to say Science is correct, is not true.  That is because Science has Scientists, and Scientists are human beings who in turn are fallible and motivated by many many other factors.  In China for example, one might say that scientific fact is exactly what they want it to be.  Indeed, who is to say it ends in China.


So why is uncertainty such a blessing in this case?  It provides an additional bargaining chip and a weapon in the armoury for all Governments to now use against the Chinese.  Maybe on the other side of the fence their own initial conspiracy theory that a foreign Government (the US) planted the virus in their midst, is being written about in their own press.  Or maybe not. The fact is it is a safe bet to assume that no body will ever know.  There will be no compensations or admissions of guilt in this case sadly…however the capillaceous network that is politics, diplomacy and economic negotiations will be the real beneficiaries.


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