MI6 agents an­gry at‘po­lit­i­cal stitch-up’as‘Face­book’spook gets top job

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

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

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