Now you can bet all MI5 agents aren’t as smart with technology as James Bonds’ Q was, but the British spy agency is demanding that their agents have at least the minimum tech skills. With terrorists now using the internet to warn of attacks—and upload videos showing their weaponry/beheading/goats—it’s become vital that MI5 agents can search for relevant baddies on Twitter and Facebook. Now they’re apparently seeking new recruits well-versed in tweeting, poking and Googling.
A recruitment drive for younger officers who have computer degrees has also replaced the previous ‘old-boy’ network method of the discreet chat with candidates in the junior common rooms of Oxbridge colleges.
Mr Evans told Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee last month there was concern some older secret agents’ computer skills were not up to scratch.
He said: ‘I think some of the staff perhaps aren’t quite the ones that we will want for the future.’
Mr Evans added that the programme would include both ‘ voluntary and compulsory redundancies’ believed to affect mainly senior spies.
Whitehall officials have said the MI5 redundancy programme was aimed at altering the skills profile of the organisation and increasing the number of staff which can be deployed on counter-terrorism operations.
The number of redundancies is expected to run into dozens and will be made across the organisation and not confined to specialist IT staff.
Patrick Mercer, chairman of the Parliamentary sub-committee on counter-terrorism, said: ‘As terrorism changes, counter-terrorism officers have to adapt to keep up.
‘Our enemies use every available method to attack including using technology. We have to be aware of the imminent threats of cyber attacks and the old generation of MI5 have to be completely comfortable using computers and the latest technology.
‘There is no room now for the old school tie or recruitment from just certain Oxbridge colleges.
‘We need people from all walks of life who can speak a range of languages and possess certain technical skills.’
MI5 has around 3,500 officers and aims to increase that to 4,100 by next year.
Source: Daily Mail.