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UK MI6 boss in Facebook muddle: Details removed

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Sir John Sawers
Sir John Sawers

Details about the personal life of the next head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, have been removed from Facebook.

The Mail on Sunday says his wife, Lady Shelley Sawers, put details about their children and the location of their flat on the social networking site.

The details, which also included holiday photographs, were removed after the paper contacted the Foreign Office.

MP Patrick Mercer, counter-terrorism sub-committee chairman, said he was disappointed by the couple’s actions.

‘Distressing and worrying’

He said: “Sir John and his family have been at the heart of the intelligence community for several decades now.

“It’s distressing and worrying therefore that these sorts of details should be appearing in the public domain. I would have hoped these sort of mistakes would not have been made by people like that.”

And the Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman, Edward Davey, tells the paper he wants Gordon Brown to launch an inquiry into whether the disclosures have compromised Sir John’s ability to take up his MI6 post.

Sir John is currently the UK’s ambassador to the United Nations and will take up his new post in November.

The Mail on Sunday says the information included the couple’s friendships with senior diplomats and well-known actors including Moir Leslie from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

Lady Sawers revealed the location of the London flat used by the couple and the whereabouts of their three grown-up children and of Sir John’s parents, the paper added.

Diplomatic postings

Sir John is due to replace Sir John Scarlett as head of the overseas Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).

He has been the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN since 2007.

Before that he was political director at the Foreign Office, an envoy in Baghdad and a foreign affairs adviser to former prime minister Tony Blair.

In that post from 1999 to 2001 he was involved in the Kosovo conflict and Northern Ireland peace process.

Elsewhere overseas he worked in the British embassy in Washington, as an ambassador to Cairo and in South Africa from 1988 and 1991 when apartheid was ending.

Source: BBC

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  1. Mercer’s condemnation is like the pot calling the kettle black had he been more sensitive to the feelings of others he would not have been given his marching orders. With Mercer’s record of past blunders I doubt he is in a position to give opinion on etiquette and I further doubt the man is the sort to suffer emotional distress so I don’t perceive he will lose any sleep worrying about this matter or the fact our boys suffer and die for the betterment of the people of Afghanistan.

    He seems to be in favour of our boys fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and that is distressing and worrying. If Mercer was a ship I have no doubt above and beyond all else he would be a man-of-war.

    If we want peace (in a time of peace) we must vote for war said Mercer. Subsequently, peace became conflict and we became the target of world terrorists.

    Perhaps it would be better for the country if Mr Mercer reenlisted.