MI6 agents angry at‘political stitch-up’as‘Facebook’spook gets top job
LONDON: MI6 officers are in a state of “near mutiny” over the appointment of Sir John Sawers as their new chief, which they view as a “political stitch-up”.
Senior security sources say Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sought to increase Downing Street’s influence over the Secret Intelligence Service by drafting in Sir John from the Foreign Office to become the next ‘C’.
Spy chiefs had expected Charles Farr, a serving MI6 officer who is Whitehall head of counter-terrorism operations, to take over from Sir John Scarlett in November.
His appointment was seen as a done deal until the prime minister stepped in to pick Sir John, who it is feared is more likely to do No10’s bidding.
MI6 sources in New York, where Sir John is Britain’s ambassador to the UN, say he had no idea the job was even available until he received a call from No 10 asking him to apply. Security sources say the appointment has left staff at the Vauxhall Cross headquarters in revolt and talking openly of their displeasure.
An MI6 officer told a contact: “It’s far worse than when Scarlett took over. He was tolerated when he came back even though he was seen as too close to the politicians.
“There has been a near mutiny over Sawers. The atmosphere is quite tense.”
Sir John spent about seven years with MI6 early in his career. But having left to become a conventional diplomat, he is not seen as “one of us” by SIS officers, who pride themselves on their impartial advice.
A security source said: “This is seen as a more blatant attempt at political control than even (Tony) Blair managed.”
Sir John’s suitability has already been called into question after it emerged his wife had published photos of the couple on Facebook. – Daily Mail