MI6 chief's cover blown by snaps on Facebook

MI6 chief's cover blown by snaps on Facebook

Sir John Sawers, currently Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, is due to take over as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service in November, putting him in charge of all spying operations abroad.

But his wife’s entries on the social networking site have exposed potentially compromising details about where they live and work, who their friends are and where they usually go on holidays.

Lady Shelley Sawers put no privacy protection on the account, meaning that any of Facebook’s 200 million users in the London network could see the entries, no matter where they were in the world, the Daily Mail reported. The lapse revealed the couple’s friendship with senior diplomats and actors. It also revealed the spy chief’s brother- in-law who holidayed with him last month, is an associate of the controversial Right-wing historian David Irving. However, after the British newspaper alerted the Foreign Office to the astonishing misjudgment, all trace of the material  which could potentially be useful to hostile foreign powers or terrorists  was removed from the Internet.

The move suggests that MI6 or the Foreign Office, which is also responsible for GCHQ electronic eavesdropping centre in Cheltenham, had not vetted what sort of information Sir John and his family were distributing over the Internet.

Foreign Office staff are warned about their use of social networking sites when they join the department but MI6 expects its agents to maintain an even tighter secrecy telling them not to reveal their true role to all but their family.

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