Chief of Britain's MI6 spy agency to step down

A general view of the Houses of Parliament in London, Great Britain. (File) (Dan Kitwood, Getty Images)
A general view of the Houses of Parliament in London, Great Britain. (File) (Dan Kitwood, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/26 12:17 pm

LONDON (AP) — Britain's MI6 intelligence agency announced Thursday that director John Sawers will step down from his post in November, at the end of his five-year term, and that the recruitment process for his successor will begin soon.

MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service, is Britain's foreign intelligence agency. Its most famous boss is the fictional M in the James Bond stories — although the real-life MI6 chief is known as C.

Sawers brought an unprecedented openness to the job, delivering speeches and appearing at televised parliamentary hearings. His 2009 appointment brought allegations of a security lapse when his wife posted beach photos and personal information on Facebook.

Britain's spies have faced increasing criticism in the wake of revelations by WikiLeaks and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

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