British intelligence agency MI5 has sacked an IT consultants firm after it failed to meet deadlines to implement the new intelligence-checking system. According to The Daily Mail, the computer system is designed to help MI5 officers carry out secret searches on suspects, including those who may pose a threat at the Olympics.
However, spy chiefs have admitted that the software will not be ready in time to be safely trialled before the Games.
The new ‘electronic records management’ system could bring together all MI5 intelligence material, so officers could carry out complete searches of old and current records.For example, it would alert officers more quickly to archived intelligence on a terror suspect who had been dormant or lying low for a number of years.
It is understood that the project, which is estimated to have already cost up to one million pounds, has been disrupted by technical and commercial difficulties. It has emerged that Jonathan Evans, director-general of the security service, has voiced concerns about a number of costly IT security contracts, including the one that has been terminated.
A Whitehall security source said that the decision to postpone introducing the system until after the Olympics was 'taken some time ago' on the grounds that it would be too risky to introduce new software just before the Olympics.