The things we’ve learned from Facebook now include, according to a report in London’s Mail tabloid, lots of personal details about the new head of MI6, Britain’s once-very-very-secret foreign-intelligence service. As recounted by The New York Times, it seems Lady Shelley Sawers, the wife of diplomat and spy Sir John Sawers, maintained a publicly accessible Facebook page that featured pictures of Sir John in a Speedo at the beach, the address of the couple’s London flat, and information about their children. (That’s not nothing: There’s a Cold War thriller by Frederick Forsyth, if we recall correctly, in which the Commies kidnap the U.S. president’s son and use him as blackmail.) Left unmentioned in the Times piece is an even more interesting detail: It seems Lady Sawers’ brother, Hugo Haig-Thomas, a former diplomat, these days works as a researcher—for prominent Holocaust denier David Irving. “I am interested in history, particularly German history, and I was engaged to carry out research for Irving,” Haig-Thomas told the Mail. “I have also attended several of his talks, but I do not necessarily share his views.” So if Haig-Thomas doesn’t necessarily share Irving’s views, what does he do research on? The Mail’s answer: “A recent post by Mr Haig-Thomas on Irving’s website includes a translation of the testimony of a German officer who claimed to have built fake gas chambers at Sachsenhausen concentration camp on Soviet orders.”
Jesse Oxfeld, a former executive editor and publisher of Tablet Magazine, is a freelance theater critic. He was The New York Observer’s theater critic from 2009 to 2014.