U.K. spy chief breaks agency's history of silence

Friday - 10/29/2010, 3:43pm EDT

For the first time ever, the chief of the United Kingdom's foreign spy agency delivered a public speech, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In a 30-minute televised address, Sir John Sawers said terrorism is his agency's top focus right now and that one-third of the resources were directed at counterterrorism.

The speech marked the first time anybody in MI6 had given out even that small amount of detail about the agency's resources. MI6 didn't even admit to its own existence until about 16 years ago.

Sawers' speech marks a shift toward greater openness. Sawers said his speech was partly motivated by his feeling that the public debate about MI6 is not well informed because of the agency's secretive nature.

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