Anne Kist-Butler has been appointed director of the British Government Communications Center (GCHQ), the intelligence agency responsible for electronic intelligence, writes The Guardian. This is the first woman to head this special service, all previous 16 directors were men.
Until recently, Kist-Butler served as deputy director general of MI5. She will take up her duties in her new capacity in May. The current director of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, announced in January his intention to leave the post after 6 years of service.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said Kist-Butler has an impressive track record of helping to counter threats from terrorists and cybercriminals.
GCHQ has been around since the start of World War I and is Britain's primary electronic intelligence agency. The agency is closely associated with the US National Security Agency (NSA), as well as with similar agencies in Canada, Australia and New Zealand as part of the Five Eyes intelligence consortium.
GCHQ specializes in protecting government communications and intercepting foreign communications. Employees of this service are credited with breaking the ciphers of the Enigma cipher machine, which was used in Nazi Germany.