back to article N00b spooks to be pensioned off

MI5 has begun laying off older intelligence officers who cannot get to grips with the internet and other modern technologies. Jonathan Evans, director general of the Security Service, recently told the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) he was making voluntary and compulsory redundancies to improve the organisation's IT …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Age? Discrimination?

    Thought they made that illegal.

    1. Gordon is not a Moron

      As it one of the Intelligence services

      they probably have a get out jail \ Gitmo card on all kinds of workplace based laws, with National Security trumping DSE requirements and all that.

    2. Losheda

      Its about competency

      It seems like they're targeting only those who haven't kept up to date with tech, they probably have training courses but if you aren't a good 'spook' then you shouldn't be a spook.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stands to reason

    After all, you only need more technology to be a proper spy nowadays. The americans showed us the way. HUMINT is overrated.

    Or is it? Did those wacky pinko muslim communist fundie hippie treehugger terrorists replace themselves by small shell scripts now?

    What was the most glaring problem the Cousins ran into with the most recent two of their frivolous wars again? Something about not finding insurgent intentions spelled out on myspace, perhaps?

    I see the Circus is learning valuable lessons here.

  3. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    MI5 Are Spamming....

    Well, kinda.

    Every so often, I get an email from TotalJobs saying "Exciting new opportunities with (XXXX)!!!!! Apply now!!!!"

    Last week, I got one about MI5 wanting IT professionals... Gotta be discreet though, you can't tell anyone you work there. I guess the fact that I'm posting this here shows just how inappropriate it would be...

    (And the closing date of 01/04/10 seemed strangely fitting....)

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Tell the world

    Mossad and the KGB will offer a bit more than the state pension to get their hands on some useful intel...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So they're laying off mature people used to doing legwork, in favour of those who get their 'intelligence' from a computer screen...

    Somehow, I'm not encouraged...

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Because everybody knows that what you read on the World Wide Tubes is always true and therefore much better than actually having a chat with real people.

      ^ shouldn't be necessary but some intelligence agency just might read this and get ideas... :-(

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Q C M Hmmm.... MkUltraSensitive Virtual Terrain Team Territory

      "MMmmm... So they're laying off mature people used to doing legwork, in favour of those who get their 'intelligence' from a computer screen..." ... John 186 Posted Monday 29th March 2010 13:28 GMT

      Is IT today, John 186, a QuITe Novel Tempestuous Art Phorm, with as you have surmised, Intelligence universally available from a computerised screen, although you do need to be able to transmit IT for Universal Screening too, if you want any sort of Special Relationship with ...... well in Spooksville, they are invariably always wacky partners verging on the certifiably insane and totally unhinged....... which makes the Smarter Ones much more MasterPilot Class Genius than Psychotic Head Case.

      And don't even think about going into ITs Quantum Communication Fields with them, where they are Comfortably Able to be Both and Morph into Something Altogether Different and Better and Beta, unless you are very sure of yourself, for Madness can all too easily, and so readily lead to One's Own Auto Self Destruct with FailSafe OverRide Drive.

      And can you begin to Imagine its Cash Flow Potential and Sublime Worth as an Invisible Export Earner or Renegade Market Lever? The Mined Mind Boggles, MeThinks.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Taking Control requires ExtraOrdinarily Rendered Leadership

    "IT recruitment is a problem not just for MI5, but also for the other intelligence agencies, MI6 and GCHQ. All must compete with the relatively large salaries available to the best IT professionals in the private sector."

    Errr ...... one would have thought that they would have agents well able to channel fortunes into numbered accounts, or even easier, extract it from the Treasury Muppets. What on earth are they doing, for of course with funding sorted, can they then do whatever they like, and are supposed to be Ace at, with no one any the wiser, which is surely exactly what they are there for and should be providing.

    Seems to me that Lords West and Drayson are also Unfit for Future MODigital and Spooky Purpose for Virtual Space Pioneers/ZerodDay Market Traders can Provide Everything Remotely which is surely what the Best Cyber Security Operations Centres are all about.

    Do that not know how to Generate Cash Cow Flow?

  7. Anonymous John

    " Do you expect me to use email?"

    "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to retire."

  8. Martin Milan
    Thumb Down

    Is this even legal?

    Redundancy is only supposed to apply where the position no longer exists. If the various agencies have failed to train their staff as techonology has progressed, isn't that more of a failing on management's part?

  9. Gaius

    History repeating

    This is the same mistake the CIA made under KKKlinton, over-reliance on SIGINT at the expense of HUMINT allowed, well, everyone who didn't speak in the clear on the phone to get up to anything they wanted to. When your enemies prefer to communicate by someone's uncle passing a message to someone's cousin then you need a strategy of infiltration.

  10. Marvin the Martian

    No it's not

    "The Cheltenham-based agency is opening its doors to BBC radio tomorrow, partly in an apparent effort to attract more recruits."

    No it's not --- the place was plastered with signs "22--24feb: BBC radio here so only have UNCLASSIFIED conversation in corridors". Transmission is indeed tomorrow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I loved their little bit of security theatre. Oh My God, Radio 4 are here, draw the blinds, they might be able to see through two panes of reflective glass, across a street and read our emails in 10pt Arial, all with such a casual glance of the eye that none of our highly trained agents would be able to spot a thing. Yeah they might also pluck all your wireless signals and a whole bunch of other stuff out of the air.

      "so only have UNCLASSIFIED conversation in corridors"

      You would otherwise have classified conversations in corridors? Where the lowest of the low has a much wider opportunity to eavesdrop? You make no attempt to hold classified conversations in restricted areas at all? Seriously? I think you should all be fired for incompetence.

    2. Anonymous John

      That will be a boring programme

      "We've just located Osa..."


      "Who do you fancy for the Boat race on Saturday?"

  11. Jacqui

    peanuts monkeys

    Need I say more?

    Perhaps if they offered to hire experienced staff and train/certify them they would get some skilled "script kiddies" but professional security folks can do better than 20K/pa and severe restrictions working for places on you. I know cleaners who earn more than what they are offering!

  12. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Is this even legal?

    From an agency that ships people to syria to torture them I don't think age-concern is going to worry them too much.

    As to the other concerns, remember the inteligence service now is really just another ad agency - the government of the day wants a campaign to persuade people it's right to invade X, it's MI5's job to produce something to convince the voters. Probably cheaper to just replace them with Satchi^2

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      5 or 6

      MI5's remit is internal security. It is the back-slapping, masonic wankers in MI6 (et alia) who provide HM Gov the requisite levels of shite vis a vis adventures abroad.

  13. Graham Bartlett

    @AC age discrimination

    Age discrimination, no. Ability discrimination, yes. There's no law that says you can't use the web and email if you're over 50.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    But What about the Old Skills?

    Can all these new computer nerds steam open envelopes? Can they work with invisible ink? Poisoned umbrellas?

    Seems to me that IT skills are often over-rated

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next step after employing IT skillz ...

    ... will be to outsource them to India and China.

  16. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Sho, Blofeld...

    You expect me to increase page click-through by using attractive user-selectable cascading style sheets while maintaining accessability and reducing server load?

    No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!

  17. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    So you think you know what is going on, and Spookery is just like the Movies? Dream on, Brother

    "The report also noted that the Security Service [MI5] and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, more commonly known as MI6) were planning to establish a joint datacentre to provide secure storage for both services' data records outside London. The two agencies are splitting the cost" .....

    Hmmm ..... That sounds very familiar but in a different selection of words, for here is its Parallel in a Present Future Dimension under Stealthy Turing and Military Wraps?** It is real spooky what Alien Intelligence can see and effortlessly deliver to ParaMilitarised Cloud Component Phormations, for one wouldn't want them being Perverted and Subverted to Server Petty Political Puppets and Pawns whenever the Prize of Absolute Power over SCADA Systems requires Dedicated and Disciplined AIGents with Special Forces and IntelAIgent Support .... "Seems like there is a Global Conspiracy to have everyone Living in a Lie ........ and that is a Virtual Reality in an Artificial Intelligence which the Simple Truth can Destroy as Easily as IT can Repair with Systems Plugged into an Advanced CyberIntelAIgent Security Service which doesn't Deal in such Dope and False Hope.

    MuI7 ..... AIdDivision of Global Communications HQ ....... for All of your MkUltraSensitive Private and Pirated Public Leads/Feeds/Needs." ..... which as El Regers will know was an earlier Transparent* BetaTesting Steganographic Systems Missive to the Head of MI5, Mr Jonathan Evans .....

    ...... and that message also informs one why bumbling Mr Bean politicians are defintely out of the loop ......."Time for Everyone to Realise that Times have Changed Fundamentally in the Information Space and being Economical with the Truth is a Radical Liability which Marks you Out as a Person of Interest to Higher Authorities when a Figure in Authority.

    * The PM's new favourite buzzword, although his past phorm would suggest that he hasn't a clue what it means or entails."

    And if you are Thinking Postmodern SMARTer Military Coup, move to the head of the Queue, for you are wasted doing what you doing in anything else.

    ** And always a question for you are not cleared to know, nor would you be able to handle the Truth of what is the Present Strategic and Critical National and International and InterNetional Posture/State of Virtual Readiness.

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