GCHQ: Working inside intelligence
11.30.2020 - By Eat Sleep Work Repeat
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There was an incredible response to the episode with Chris hayward last week. I know that Chris was really touched with the response. He’s not on Twitter but I know he was responding to some people on Linkedin last week.
Today’s episode is much lighter in tone but it’s fascinating rare opportunity to get a different perspective into another world. During the summer someone at GCHQ got in touch and asked whether it would be of interest to get an insight into the modern world of spying and intelligence. I’ve been very fortunate that since I’ve been doing this podcast I’ve been invited to M15, to M16 and inside the SAS so I was delighted to go inside GCHQ. Especially as I was allowed to record it and have one of the first interviews with someone inside GCHQ.
GCHQ (government communication headquarters - as its never known) was created in 1919 after the first world war as a way to gather intelligence to assist the British Government and UK military.
It’s always had a unique culture - harking back to its old site at Bletchley Park where – deliberately – everyone worked in huts so the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing to maintain secrecy. The code breakers of Bletchley park were famously principally women and were credited with helping to end the war 2 years ahead of what would otherwise have occurred.
I was fortunate to get a very rare interview with Jo Caven, a director at GCHQ, and one of the few people who are allowed to confirm they work at the organisation. It's a fun discussion - there's a few laughs in there - not least because Jo has a good sense of fun and entertains my more excitable questions.
Some interesting reading:
- Spying in the digital age
- Drab office was GCHQ base
- UK is a spying leader
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