UK intelligence agency GCHQ is now under the command of Robert Hannigan as he replaces former director Sir Iain Lobban. He takes over at the spy post amid a period of intense scrutiny caused by the Prism leaks of 2013 by Edward Snowden.
Hannigan held the post of director general for defence and intelligence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 2010, and is one of Julian Assange's main pursuers, according to Wikileaks. He was appointed to the rolein April.
Hannigan said that he has worked with GCHQ for some time, and is looking forward to the new job.
"After many years working with colleagues in GCHQ and having spent a lot of time over the past few months visiting teams, I couldn't be more excited to be starting as director," he said.
"I am proud to take on leadership of such a motivated, innovative and talented group of people, and I look forward to the challenges we will encounter together.
"[Iain Lobban] leaves an organisation in good health and well placed to deliver all that is asked of it. I wish him the best for the future."
GCHQ is currently facing a public perception problem and is regularly cited in reports about Edward Snowden and widespread state-sponsored surveillance.
The organisation is under increased scrutiny, and its practices are already the subject of legal study. Lobban denied claims of mass surveillance in a speech last week.
"The people who work at GCHQ would sooner walk out the door than be involved in anything remotely resembling 'mass surveillance'," he said.
"[Our staff] are normal, decent human beings - people who spend their lives outside work shopping at Sainsbury's or the Co-op, watching EastEnders and Spooks, listening to Radio 4 and TalkSport, drinking in pubs."
A group of internet service providers and privacy groups have taken GCHQ to court, claiming that data is taken without a warrant.
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