Australia: MI6 Officers Apply for Canberra Spy Jobs
David Leppard writes on The Australian:
According to insiders, the strong interest among middle-ranking officers in jobs at the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) reflects a crisis in morale at MI6.
There has been growing uncertainty among the agency's 2600 staff who have been unsettled by looming budget cuts, inquiries into alleged complicity in the torture of terrorism suspects and moves to keep operatives behind computer screens in London rather than sending them on overseas missions.
The changes are being overseen by Sir John Sawers, the MI6 chief, who achieved unexpected fame - and ridicule - last year when his wife Shelley inadvertently breached security by posting pictures of him on Facebook. He was shown wearing Speedos - nicknamed "budgie smugglers" in Australia - on the open section of a Facebook page.
The attraction of Australia for Sawers's officers is enhanced by the contrast with a three-year Whitehall-wide pay freeze. Forced to retire at 55, insiders say they face limited promotion prospects as executive jobs are cut.