LONDON — Britain's domestic spy agency has chosen a new director, a 50-year-old ornithologist with counter-terrorism experience in the Middle East and Northern Ireland.
Andrew Parker, one of the youngest MI5 directors in recent history, has worked for the service for 30 years and led the agency's response to the July 7 London transit bombings in 2005 that killed 52 people.
Parker said Thursday he's "extremely proud of the extraordinary work the men and women of MI5 do to keep the country safe in challenging circumstances," and is looking forward to his "next chapter."
Besides his work in the fields of Middle East terrorism, counter- espionage and Northern Ireland terrorism, Parker also has experience in serious and organized crime prevention, protective security and strategic planning. He also had a liaison posting in the United States in 1991.
Parker was appointed MI5's director of international terrorism prevention in 2005, the same year that suicide bombers attacked during London's rush-hour.
In 2006, his teams played a key role disrupting al-Qaida's attempt to attack multiple airliners with bombs hidden in drink bottles.
Parker, who starts his job April 22, has been the deputy director general of the agency since 2007. In that role, he has been responsible for leading all the service's investigative and operational work.
Parker holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and is married with two children.
He succeeds Jonathan Evans, who is leaving MI5 after 33 years of service.