Spies struggle to cope with computers

Posted by Emma Woollacott

James Bond always seems to manage okay, but apparently Britain's other spies have a bit of a problem with technology.

MI5 is laying off some of its creakier staff because they can't use the internet, and is planning to hire a new, more tech-savvy bunch.

Jonathan Evans, director general of the Security Service, told the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) that his staff were a little lacking in IT skills, and voluntary and compulsory redundancies were needed.

"I think some of the staff perhaps aren't quite the ones that we will want for the future," he said.

The problem is that the terrorists that MI5 is fighting are a lot more competent with modern technology, using rare and arcane methods like phones and the internet to lay their plans.

MI5's been actively recruiting over the last year or so, with radio commercials and poster campaigns aimed at younger people.