Internet-shy spies face the sack -

Older MI5 spooks are facing the sack, if they are not computer-savvy enough, clearly flouting the age discrimination laws.

The Security Service is laying off senior-citizen spies in order to hire new intelligence officers and support staff with better IT skills and more online knowledge.

This has meant that it is the “James Bond generation” of elderly spies being put out to pasture because they can’t use the internet, the Telegraph reports.

The director-general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, told a Parliamentary committee that he is concerned that his agency’s overall IT skills are not cutting the mustard.

“I think some of the staff perhaps aren’t quite the ones that we will want for the future,” Mr Evans told the Intelligence and Security Committee.

The redundancies come after the MI5 budget was increased, and it is understood that redundancies will be made across the organisation and not confined to specialist IT staff.

The secret services have been criticised before for letting its older workers go rather than keeping them, a move that wouldn’t be tolerated in other professions. In 2008 MI6 argued to be exempt from an increase the Whitehall retirement age, which it said would hamper its secret overseas operations.

Previously the committee has agreed saying: "In both cases, there are categories of staff for which maintaining operational capability past a certain age would be difficult."

MI5 currently has around 3,500 officers with an aim to increase that to 4,100 by next year, meaning the service will have doubled in size since 2001