February 25 2021 — The sudden announcement of Robert Hannigan’s resignation in January 2017 surprised many and the news fueled suspicions that GCHQ had been spying on Trump’s team. At the time, the true reason behind his departure was kept secret but it was finally revealed in February 2019. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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Hannigan, then 51, suggested that he wanted to prioritize his family. Obviously, Hannigan was lying and many suspected a serious scandal.
Then, on February 24 2019, The Mail on Sunday reported that the real reason was his involvement in the case of Father Edmund Higgins, a Catholic priest and family friend.
Hannigan gave a character reference to Father Higgins who went on to re offend.
The court heard that the former priest would watch and share child abuse videos, including one that involved a baby.
Hannigan told the newspaper that Higgins had been a close family friend for 20 years.
“After he pleaded guilty to child sexual imagery offences in 2013, we submitted a character reference on our knowledge of him to the court in good faith.
His subsequent criminal actions appalled us and have shown that our judgment was completely wrong.
When I later became director of GCHQ, all the correct steps were taken in relation to my involvement in this case and this was verified by government lawyers.
This is a personal family matter. We will not be making further comment.”
Hannigan offered to resign to avoid dragging GCHQ into a scandal and did so with Theresa May’s blessing.
Today, GCHQ announced that the agency intends to use artificial intelligence to tackle several issues including child sexual abuse, human trafficking and disinformation.
Foreign Secretary appoints new Director GCHQ — Official website
GCHQ appoints MI5’s Jeremy Fleming as director — Guardian
GCHQ boss: ‘We get crazy theories thrown at us every day’ — BBC News
Two Years Ago — GCHQ boss reveals real reason behind his resignation (February 25 2019)