MI5 has come in from the cold and joined Instagram.
The UK’s intelligence agency has decided to throw off its invisibility cape and go IG official in the name of “being more open.”
Announcing the decision in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, MI5 boss Ken McCallum beat every commentator to the lowest hanging fruit, writing, “You can insert your own joke about whether we will be following you.”
McCallum added that the move was “a routine step for most organisations, but more interesting when you’re in the business of keeping secrets.”
So far, the account has posted one image of the ceiling of the MI5 building in London, promising more “exclusive views of life inside MI5.” The account will be hosting Q&As with intelligence officers as well as highlighting job opportunities. MI5 will also reveal what it’s like to be an agent runner and surveillance officer. But they won’t be giving away all their secrets in the feed.
There will also be some myth-busting about MI5’s work, in addition to the unveiling of archive material from its 112-year history.
So, why does MI5, an organisation that literally necessitates secrecy in the name of national security, feel the need to be on Instagram? McCallum acknowledged the dilemma.
“On the one hand, our ability to serve the public and keep the country safe depends critically on operating covertly,” he wrote. “It would be dangerous vanity to imagine MI5 can build all the capabilities it needs inside its own bubble.”
It’s worth noting that MI5 does not want you to DM them with top-secret national security intel. Per its Insta bio: “We are MI5. We keep the UK safe from threats to national security. This account is not monitored 24/7. To report a threat, please visit our website.”
In case you’re wondering (or are going to tweet about this later), the fictional British secret agent character of James Bond works for MI6, not MI5. What’s the difference? MI5 and MI6 (officially known as the SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service) are both intelligence agencies that have different functions: “MI5 is responsible for protecting the UK, its citizens and interests, at home and overseas, against threats to national security. SIS is responsible for gathering intelligence outside the UK in support of the government’s security, defence, foreign and economic policies.”
Anyway, I hope MI5 likes thirst traps.