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Britain's Johnson says Jeremy Fleming to head GCHQ spy agency

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Jeremy Fleming, the deputy director general of Britain's internal security service, will become the new head of intelligence eavesdropping service GCHQ, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Fleming will take over from Robert Hannigan, who announced in January he was stepping down for family reasons, and will take up his post around Easter. He has been deputy director of MI5 since 2013.

"I know that he will continue the excellent work of Robert Hannigan in leading this outstanding organisation, when the skill and ingenuity of the UK intelligence community are critical to defending Britain from cyber attacks, terror plots and other activities that threaten us and our allies," Johnson said in a statement.

Last week, in a rare public statement, GCHQ dismissed claims made on a U.S. television station that it helped former President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Donald Trump after last year's U.S. presidential election.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper)