Parker holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.
Parker had served for at least 30 years at the time he was appointed Director-General, which suggests he joined MI5 in around 1983.
His subsequent work took in the fields of Middle East terrorism, counter espionage, Northern Ireland terrorism, serious and organised crime, protective security, policy and strategic planning.
He completed a liaison posting in the United States in 1991.
He spent three years on secondment to HM Customs & Excise as Director Intelligence before returning to MI5 in 2002 to join the Board as Director for Northern Ireland terrorism, Protective Security & Serious Crime. This position would appear to correspond to that of director T Branch.
He was appointed Director International Terrorism in February 2005. he led the Service’s response to the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London that year, overseeing a significant expansion in counter terrorism capability and the development of the MI5’s regional network. His teams played the lead role in the disruption of the 2006 airline bomb plot.
This position would appear to correspond to that of Director G Branch. According to a Telegraph report, it was the head of G Branch at this time who ordered the surveillance operation which led to the Forest Gate Raid in 2006, based on information from a G6 agent in the East London Muslim community.
Following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich in May 2013, Parker wrote to the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee setting out what the security services knew about the activities of suspects Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo. The move followed talks between Parker and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of the committee.
In September 2015, Parker undertook his first live radio interview on the BBC, calling for more cooperation on surveillance from internet companies.
- Director of Security Service on MI5 and the Evolving Threat, RUSI, 8 October 2013.
- Andrew Parker named as new head of MI5, BBC News, 28 March 2013.
- New Director General appointed, Security Service, 28 March 2013.
- Sean Rayment, MI5 fears silent army of 1,200 biding its time in the suburbs, telegraph.co.uk, 4 June 2006.
- Oliver Wright, Exclusive: 'Snooper’s charter’ would not have prevented Woolwich attack, say MI5, The Independent, 28 May 2013.
- Ewen MacAskill and Alan Travis, MI5 chief calls for more up-to-date surveillance powers, Guardian, 17 September 2015.