Former MI6 chief claims Russia hacked his personal emails

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Sir Richard Dearlove claims his personal emails were hacked by Russia - Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Sir Richard Dearlove claims his personal emails were hacked by Russia - Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

A former MI6 spy chief has said his personal emails were hacked by Russia and posted online.

The emails were published on a website called Very English Coop [sic] d'Etat, which a Google cybersecurity official has linked to Russia.

Sir Richard Dearlove, who led the spy service from 1999 to 2004, said the emails should be treated “with caution” because of the war in Ukraine and “the context of the present crisis in relations with Russia”.

The website claims the emails are proof of a conspiracy between leading Brexiteers including Sir Richard, Gisela Stuart, a former Labour MP, and the historian Robert Tombs.

The site claimed there was a plan to embed a pro-Brexit spy in the UK negotiating team led by Olly Robbins, the UK’s former Brexit negotiator, although this is impossible to confirm.

Mr Tombs told Reuters he was “aware of this Russian disinformation based on illegal hacking”.

Sir Richard said: “I am well aware of a Russian operation against a Proton account which contained emails to and from me.”

He said the emails captured a “legitimate lobbying exercise which, seen through this antagonistic optic, is now subject to distortion”.

The emails appear to be from 2018, a time of great difficulty for Theresa May, the former prime minister, in the Brexit talks. She was humiliated at a summit in Salzburg when EU leaders brutally rejected her Chequers plan.

Mrs May also struggled to overcome suspicions from some Brexiteers that she and Mr Robbins were pursuing a Brexit in name only. Ultimately she was replaced by Boris Johnson, who adopted a more confrontational style with Brussels.

Shane Huntley, who directs Google’s Threat Analysis Group, told Reuters that the website was linked to “Cold River”, a Russia-based hacking group. He said there were clear technical links between the hacking attempts and the publicising of the leaks.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting