Miliband defends MI6’s Facebook gaffe

By Liz Stephens

David Miliband defended the future head of MI6 yesterday after it was revealed that details of his private life had been posted on Facebook.

The foreign secretary denied security had been compromised after the wife of Sir John Sawers posted family photographs and address details on the social networking site.

The details, which have since been removed from the site, included pictures of Sir John wearing swimming shorts on a family holiday.

In a robust rebuttal, Mr Miliband told the Andrew Marr Show yesterday: “It is not a state secret that he wears Speedo swimming trunks, for goodness sake let’s grow up.”

However, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Edward Davey claimed the disclosure had the potential to put the security of Sir John’s family in jeopardy.

“We would be negligent if there wasn’t an internal inquiry into the security implications, not just in relation to MI6 but to Sir John and his family,” he said.

Security experts have warned the Sawers family may need to be rehoused and their children might require extra protection following the Facebook disclosures.

In the past, even the names of MI6 chiefs were not public knowledge but this rule has changed in recent times.

However, Lady Sawer’s Facebook site, which was unprotected and available to view by anyone, has revealed a lot more about the future MI6 chief than was previously known about any of his predecessors.

Shadow business secretary Ken Clarke joined Mr Miliband in dismissing the potential security implications of the information, saying he “very much doubted” national security was jeopardised.

He said he expected that Britain’s enemies did not rely on Facebook for information.

Sir John is currently UK ambassador to the UN and is due to take up his new post as head of MI6 in November.