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UK names new head of eavesdropping agency after Snowden leaks

Published on Apr 15, 2014 11:49 PM

LONDON (AFP) - Britain on Tuesday named a top foreign ministry official as the new head of GCHQ, the electronic eavesdropping agency that came under scrutiny after leaks by former US analyst Edward Snowden.

Mr Robert Hannigan, currently the director of defence and intelligence at the Foreign Office, will replace Mr Iain Lobban, who was in the post for six years.

Mr Lobban's departure was announced in January, although the government denied it was related to revelations by fugitive National Security Agency contractor Snowden.

The Snowden leaks showed Government Communications Headquarters - a giant doughnut-shaped building in Cheltenham in southwest England - was a key player in covert US surveillance operations worldwide.

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