MI6 chief Richard Moore admits he only attended ‘half a dozen lectures’ while at Oxford University

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Confessions of a spy boss: MI6 chief Richard Moore admits he only went to ‘half a dozen lectures’ when he was in Oxford University because he wanted to play hockey and see his girlfriend

  • MI6 boss says he wasn’t the ‘perfect student’ during a three-year stint in Oxford
  • He admitted to focusing mainly on hockey and seeing his girlfriend in college
  • He revealed he loves trashy thriller box sets, but insists real spies aren’t like Bond

As one of the best spies in the country, intelligence is part of his job description.

But the head of MI6 has admitted that he was not a “perfect student” attending only “half a dozen lectures” in his three years at Oxford.

‘I had too much else to do,’ said Richard Moore, 57, in his first personal interview as ‘C’, as he is called in Whitehall.

Richard Moore (pictured) admitted that he played hockey most of his time or was in Oxford with his girlfriend

Richard Moore (pictured) admitted that he played hockey most of his time or was in Oxford with his girlfriend

The head of the country’s foreign intelligence agency revealed that he tried to do academic work only two days a week.

The rest of the time he focused on playing hockey and seeing his girlfriend.

Mr. Moore told the magazine of his old private school, St George’s College in Weybridge, Surrey, that he had experienced ‘impostor syndrome’ while in Oxford.

Surrounded by ‘smart down’, he wondered if he was in the right place.

He revealed that he started studying economics but hated it and dropped it after his freshman year.

‘I hardly count on it, as a succession of math teachers at SGC [St George’s College] can testify, ”he said.

He described his research for university essays as ‘sometimes vague’.

Mr. Moore revealed that he loves trashy thriller TV box sets, but that real spies aren’t like those in James Bond movies or TV shows like Spooks.

He said it was a “curse” of popular culture that intelligence officers were portrayed as amoral and violent, “often on the wrong side of the law.”

‘The reality is the opposite,’ he added, saying his staff were ‘extremely idealistic and committed’ to ‘doing the right thing – we don’t cut ethical corners’.

Richard Moore is known as C in the corridors of secret intelligence in London

Richard Moore is known as C in the corridors of secret intelligence in London

Richard Moore is known as C in the corridors of secret intelligence in London

Mr. Moore, pictured, related how he met his wife Maggie, who is blind and with whom he has two children, on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France in 1981.

Although she couldn’t see him in action, she followed him through his rugby time at Worcester College, Oxford.

Moore, the first MI6 chief to have a Twitter account, was also involved in student politics.

He was Chairman of the Junior Common Room and recalls Boris Johnson being elected secretary while there.

He advised the students at his former school not to over-plan their careers, saying they should develop a ‘can-do’ attitude and ‘be willing to take opportunities when they arise’.

He told the magazine, “ Once you’ve been in working life for a decade, you can start thinking about how you’re shaping the years to come.

Richard Moore was President of the Junior Common Room and recalls Boris Johnson being elected secretary while there

Richard Moore was President of the Junior Common Room and recalls Boris Johnson being elected secretary while there

Richard Moore was President of the Junior Common Room and recalls Boris Johnson being elected secretary while there

“But don’t miss out on great opportunities in the beginning because you think they don’t fit the plan for world domination.”

Mr. Moore revealed that he had considered becoming a journalist or a banker, but became a spy after being approached by a secret intelligence “talent show”.

After becoming head of MI6 last October, he launched a drive to recruit new staff through his social media account.

Mr. Moore, a former ambassador to Turkey, admitted that he had made many mistakes in life, adding that it was important to learn from them.

In his spare time, in addition to playing box sets, he also plays golf and watches rugby and cricket.

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