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Culture, communication and control

MI5 insigniaBritain's Intelligence Agencies: MI5 (Home Office) and MI6 (Foreign Office)

SS - The 'Security Service' (official title) or MI5 is Britain's internal military intelligence division, the SIS or Secret Intelligence Service is Britain's external military intelligence division. Though described as 'services' they are actually plain clothes military units with no effective system to ensure they serve the public. In practice they simply serve their own interests and, judging by the sign at the top of MI5's insignia, the occult.

See intelligence links on my badlinks page

The alternative MI5 homepage

The Prisoner - fiction? - who runs global intelligence agencies?

03Feb01 - Echelon Hacked

14Jan01 - Sunday Times  - Richard Tomlinson, a rebel spy on the run - download Rich Text Document here - Richard Tomlinson has been consistently refused an employment tribunal since he was sacked from MI6 -

27Aug00 - Guardian - Jackie Stewart teamed up with MI6 renegade

27Aug00 - Observer - Conceived in Sin - Nick Cohen 

29Aug00 - Observer - Don't shoot the messenger

22Jul00 - Guardian - Second MI5 officer attacks security service

25Jul00 - Guardian - Opening the Floodgates

All seeing eye in the top of the triangle - What are the aims of the Illuminati, the organisation signified by the 'eye in the top of the pyramid'


28May00 - The Sunday Times - MI5 tells supergrass to sign gagging order

21May00 - The Sunday Times - Top spy chief leads drive to gag press

21May00 - The Sunday Times - Spy chiefs urged arrest of Rimington

21May00 - The Sunday Times - Editorial: The truth will out

14Nov99 - The Sunday Times - Runaway spy found lurking in the small ads

10Mar98 - MI5 Press Release - Shock Horror! Security Service have a telephone


1998 - Security services forced to comply with privacy law

'The Prisoner' - Quote from 'The Chimes of Big Ben':

The Prisoner is a 1960's TV series (available on VHS and DVD) where a British secret agent tries to resign and finds himself kidnapped and taken to a place called 'The Village' where the authorities try to get him to explain why he resigned.

No.2: "It doesn't matter which side runs the Village."

No.6: "It's run by one side, or the other?"

No.2: "Oh, certainly. But both sides are becoming identical. What in fact has been created - an international community. The perfect blueprint for world order. When the sides facing each other suddenly realize that they are looking into a mirror, they will see that this is the pattern for the future."

The Prisoner website

03Feb01 - Echelon Hacked

from anon. hacker... true or false????  I'd say it has a good chance of being true or I wouldn't have posted it up here! {TG}

Message 1

Between 20-25 percent of all the IP addresses given below are part of the ECHELON system and are used extensively by MI6 and the NSA to spy on British and continental citizens (the last 50 alone were intercepted with my accessing this site). Most of the 62s and 212s are clean: they form part of the Telekom network. Nonetheless there are around ten rogue 212s and three or four rogue 62s. The 193s are particularly interesting because they are well integrated within the RIPE system. Nonetheless, check out the 193s between Frankfurt and Wurzburg on arbitrary strings or as direct "pings".

Many carry little in the way of WHOIS information and are detached from RIPE with direct feeds to London (no nodes). But with a little persistence you'll be able to link them to the Whitehall/Vauxhall area and military bases outside of London.

Quite a few have been around for months, and here again I will provide you with additional analysis and a more detailed breakdown on the addresses later. In the meantime, if you have some decent traceroute software, I wish you the best of fun. Please feel free to send your findings to other interested websites, such as Expect another 30 addresses later.


---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- 62,180.220.43 ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----


Message 2

[Begin text]

Today's earlier submission of ECHELON / MI6 IP addresses and network listening stations, which are involved in the wholesale commercial theft of other people's hard work, seem to have struck a note.

Most of the 193s, particularly those concentrated the the southeast of Wurzburg in Germany, are ECHELON listening posts. In fact, Germany has to contend with a huge amount of illegal MI6 activity and is indeed the focus of most of ECHELON's espionage (theft of commercial secrets, patents, new products and technology, in addition surveillance of American and British dissidents etc.) You'll find much of ECHELON's electronic snooping terminals southeast of Frankfurt, running in a wide strip from Wurzburg to Furth, which is a few kilometres to the west of Nuremberg, including: Aschaffenburg, Lauda, Rottendorf, Kitzingen, Ochsenfurt, Marktbreit, Bamberg, Ansbach, Forchheim and Erlangen. Run searches on any of the IPs (including the 194s, 195s, 62s, 212s, 217s, 213s and all the others that don't seem to fit) and trace routes to and from all of them. If you've got the right sort of intelligence software with mapping, resolution, imaging, charts and ping and echo facilities you'll find some pretty bizarre nodes and links along the way. Most of the 62s, and 212s are not live feeds, but can be used as a means to see all the 193s and 195s in between. There are however a couple of 62s and 213s way out on another planet ("blackholers"). Whatever, you're bound to ask yourself: "What the fuck is going on here?" Check these out, and enjoy:

[Begin numbers]

---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----

[End all],4273,4055860,00.html

Jackie Stewart teamed up with MI6 renegade

Antony Barnett and Martin Bright Observer

Sunday August 27, 2000

British intelligence agents landed a job for renegade spy Richard Tomlinson with the Formula One motor racing team owned by Jackie Stewart, the former Grand Prix champion and friend of Prince Charles.

The deal was part of a pact MI6 made with Tomlinson in 1996 aimed at stopping the former agent from revealing secrets about the workings of Britain's intelligence services. The deal also involved a loan from MI6 of several thousand pounds to help Tomlinson pay off his debts.

Tomlinson worked in the marketing department of Stewart's team from May 1996 until he left in November to travel to Australia. It was then that the authorities discovered he was trying to publish a book about his work in MI6.

Last night Stewart confirmed he gave Tomlinson a job but said he was unaware of any links with the intelligence community.

'I was approached through a friend who said he knew someone who wanted a job,' Stewart told The Observer last night. 'He was a very personable man and very good academically. It was quite a long time ago and from memory I think he had something to do with the Foreign Office, but I can't be sure.'

In an article in today's Observer, David Shayler, the MI5 officer who returned to Britain last week and is facing charges of breaching the Official Secrets Act, uses the example of Tomlinson to show how poorly he believes he was treated.

Shayler said: 'This all contrasts remarkably with the attitude taken towards former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson. After alleging impropriety, he was the beneficiary of an immunity deal which saw him receiving a substantial amount of taxpayers' money and a new job in return for silence.'

Although it had been understood that Tomlinson was paid £25,000 to keep quiet, the former MI6 agent says it was more like £14,000 and was a loan. He also claims £1,000 was used to pay part of Shayler's legal fees while he was in jail.

After being sacked by MI6 for allegedly 'going on frolics of his own', Tomlinson left for Spain in early 1996. The intelligence service promised him a job and immunity from prosecution if he kept quiet.

Tomlinson claims he was given a 'dull job' in marketing and quickly became frustrated.

He asked MI6 to find him another job but when they failed to deliver he left the Stewart racing team to go to Australia. It was then that he was arrested. Tomlinson, who now lives in Italy, became the first former MI6 officer to be jailed for breaking the Official Secrets Act since George Blake, the KGB traitor, 36 years ago.

Conceived in sin

Nick Cohen

Profound constitutional questions have been raised by the actions of MI5 and MI6. They should not be allowed to get away with murder any more

The Observer - Sunday August 27, 2000,5673,359717,00.html

When David Shayler appeared on Have I Got News For You last year, Paul Merton showed that alternative humour which has made him a millionaire by delivering the Wildean jibe that Shayler was a fatty bozo. Even the Telegraph could not produced wit to match this. In retrospect, Shayler's stock had nowhere to head but up.

He was thanked by strangers in the street for his sacrifices when he returned from exile last week. The greetings were delivered in Beaconsfield, which was not known previously as a Little Moscow of the Buckinghamshire red belt. The newspapers agreed that the tide was with Shayler. They reported the Government had ducked an Official Secrets Act prosecution against him for revealing his most damming secrets - MI6's definite knowledge of and alleged complicity in a coup attempt in Libya, and MI5's lazy handling of warnings of the bombing of the Israeli Embassy which led to the building being wrecked and the probable unjust conviction of two Palestinians. Rather than take the serious charges head on, the authorities had gone for Shayler for the laughably petty crime of telling the Mail on Sunday that MI5 kept files on politicians.

As the politicians were Peter Mandelson and Jack Straw, two of the most conservative figures in the history of the Labour movement, I can see why many think the case will be far funnier than Have I Got News For You has been since those forgotten days when Merton had to struggle on a mere upper-middle-class income. The argument doing the rounds is that MI5 will end up being derided as a collection of numpties whatever happens. If Mandelson and Straw are real security threats, then Shayler was right to reveal the presence of traitors at the heart of Government. If they are not, and they quite clearly are not, then Shayler revealed nothing except the dangerous fantasies of a far-right secret police.

I'm all for laughing at the spooks, but mockery can let them off too lightly. Straw is meant to be the Minister who controls MI5. Mandelson has to deal daily with its bureaucrats in Northern Ireland. They are members of a government which determines the budgets and powers of MIs 5 and 6. How are they likely to behave when they learn that they have been spied on for years after they left the Left by the wizened, vindictive souls of the 'intelligence community'?

The best answer comes from fiction. Robert Penn Warren's 1946 novel, All the King's Men, about the politics of the American South has just been re-published. It has a corrupt politician telling his sidekick, the narrator, to find the dirty secret of a judge who has got ideas above his station.

'"But suppose there isn't anything to find?"

'And the Boss said: "There is always something."

'And I said: "Maybe not on the Judge."

'And he said: "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something."'

Quite so. Successive American presidents allowed J. Edgar Hoover to ignore the rise of a Mafia and persecute civil rights campaigners because they were terrified about what he had on them in his files. There is at least a suggestion that New Labour politicians are being told to watch what they say.

In March, Peter Hain, the Foreign Office Minister, bravely deplored the prosecution of my colleague Martin Bright for fighting MI5's attempts to find the sources of our articles on the Shayler case. Within days, the Times and Telegraph were reporting that the Conservatives had 'revealed' that Hain was a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and, as such, was unfit to represent Britain. It is impossible to decide whether this was a warning from the secret state to a democratic politician not to get ideas above his station. I wouldn't dream of speculating myself - no responsible citizen wants to be accused of being a conspiracy theorist, after all. Yet it is indisputable that Robin Cook was lied to quite spectacularly when MI6 told him Shayler's Libyan accusations were 'pure fantasy'.

As far as we know no official has been investigated for allegedly deceiving the Ministers who are meant to control them. Being a cynical Leftie, I think New Labour would have given the most bigoted factions in the security services everything they wanted without the need for threats. Those Pollyannas among you who believe in the democratic respectability of our system have no choice, however, but to regard Shayler's allegations about the files as the most serious charges of constitutional impropriety he has levelled.

See also:
Special report: David Shayler
Special report: freedom of information MI5 Freedom of information bill,5673,359717,00.html

Don't shoot the messenger

David Shayler


Sunday August 27, 2000

Although I am very happy to be back in Britain after three years, I have hardly been rejoicing. Failing intervention by the Attorney-General, I expect to appear in court soon facing possible imprisonment for breaching the Official Secrets Act.

But the real criminals in this affair are the British Government and the intelligence services. The Government has a duty to uphold the law. It cannot simply be ignored because crimes are carried out by friends of the Government.

In November 1999, I sent the Home Secretary Jack Straw detailed evidence of involvement by MI6 officers in a plot to murder Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi. Although the assassination failed when attempted in 1996, innocent Libyan civilians were killed.

In a dossier I presented to Mr Straw, I included the names of those who had also been briefed about the plot within MI5. Mr Straw merely indicated to journalists in off-the-record briefings that he was 'looking into the matter'. Robin Cook labelled my evidence 'pure fantasy', an assertion now contradicted by an MI6 report posted on the Internet last February.

When presented with this compelling evidence these very senior Ministers should, of course, have called in the police immediately. We would never countenance two police officers conspiring to murder a criminal. Why should we accept that two MI6 officers could do the same to Colonel Gaddafi?

This week, I will be writing to both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service asking them to investigate the role of the Government in this case. As part of any inquiry, Special Branch would have to have unfettered access to Government discussions about my case. Should the Government frustrate this process, it would lay itself open to accusations of either obstructing or perverting the course of justice. And what has Sir Stephen Lander, now head of MI5, done to protect the reputation of the organisation he runs?

When I joined MI5, I was told it obeyed the law and always had the utmost respect for civil liberties. So inevitably I am left wondering why Sir Stephen did not perform his clear public duty and call in Special Branch to investigate the Gadaffi plot as soon as he realised that MI6 did not have Ministerial authorisation to plot to assassinate a foreign head of state. In August 1998, I also pointed out publicly that MI5 had evidence of the plot on its file SF754-0168.

Sir Stephen is, sadly, a man who keeps quiet about crimes committed by MI6 but stands by while a properly-motivated whistleblower is persecuted. I fear he has already connived in misleading the Government over MI5's failure to prevent an IRA attack on the British mainland in 1993, a matter I will seek to have disclosed at my forthcoming trial.

The Government's failure to ensure that two MI6 officers are brought to justice for their part in planning a murder is what I would expect of despots and dictators. It is not only an abuse of power. It is an insult to those who respect the rule of law, including the vast majority of the British public.

It is corruption. It is sleaze. And sleaze was where New Labour came in as a supposed breath of fresh air after the Conservatives had grown corrupt.

The Attorney General's office is still determined to prosecute the editor of Punch magazine early next month for claiming that institutional failures in the intelligence services failed to prevent the IRA bombing of Bishopsgate in the City of London in 1993. That was the biggest terrorist attack on the British mainland in history.

This all contrasts remarkably with the attitude taken towards former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson. After alleging impropriety in the intelligence services to the Sunday Times in 1996, he was the beneficiary of an immunity deal which saw him receiving a substantial sum of taxpayers' money and help in finding a new job in return for future silence.

This tragic episode is fast becoming British Watergate. Until Nixon was exposed, the American public was generally prepared to tolerate some secrecy surrounding the work of government because they trusted their elected representatives. But our Ministers should not forget that once their president had been impeached, Americans were no longer prepared to take that government on trust. As a consequence, the American people have now won the most liberal freedom of information policy in the world. Dumb commentators still suggest glibly that 'secrets must remain secret'. That argument is an affront to the public's right to know how our intelligence services operate on their behalf. Secrecy and the ludicrous legislation which props it up is inimical to freedom of expression.

These naive commentators do not have the wit or intelligence to realise that they undermine the proper ability of the press to hold the most secretive and unaccountable areas of government up to public scrutiny. If people want to live in a country where the intelligence services work in absolute secrecy with no respect for the rule of law or basic human rights, they should go and live in Libya, Iraq or Iran.

As the head of Britain's intelligence services, Tony Blair now has a simple - and honourable - choice. To expose the truth. My message to the servants of the state remains simple. Don't shoot the messenger. Don't let MI6 get away with murder.

Opening the floodgates

When Jestyn Thirkell-White broke cover, he ruined MI5's strategy for dealing with David Shayler Special report: David Shayler

Mark Hollingsworth


Tuesday July 25, 2000

There is one individual so embarrassing and infuriating that Sir Stephen Lander, the head of MI5, must pray nightly for the earth to open up and swallow him.

That man is David Shayler, the portly Middlesbrough fan and MI5 officer, who so notoriously departed from the intelligence agency in 1996 with a sheaf of secret documents allegedly under his arm, to blow the whistle on numerous malpractices and talk to the press.

Despite the existence of a recent and draconian piece of legislation - the 1989 Official Secrets Act - MI5's bosses have since been forced to fume helplessly, first as the French refused to extradite him; next as a copy of a highly secret intelligence report detailing British complicity in a Libyan assassination plot was posted on the internet; and finally as, last week, the courts ringingly refused to order the Guardian and Observer to hand over correspondence and notes about their dealings with the fugitive.

But until now, Lander and his frustrated intelligence colleagues have had one single - but highly important consolation. Shayler has been, apparently, alone in his complaints.

So MI5 have repeatedly said that he is disgruntled and bitter - a solitary voice in the wilderness and not credible. The foreign secretary, Robin Cook, taking his cue from Whitehall, claimed Shayler's Libya allegations were "pure fantasy".

However, that fundamental strategy has now been destroyed. Jestyn Thirkell-White, a former colleague of Shayler's in the secret world of MI5, has broken cover in the Guardian. In last week's interview, he backed many of Shayler's allegations of mismanagement, excessive secrecy, lack of accountability and unwillingness to reform. He denounced the Special Branch harassment of Shayler's British supporters as "acting like the police state from which they are supposed to be protecting us".

When I recently travelled to western Europe to meet Thirkell-White (who now works for a prominent merchant bank), I did not find a wild man. A quiet and carefully spoken 32-year-old who lives with his family, he is no attention-seeker.

Educated at a public school and Christ's College, Cambridge (a 2.1 degree in philosophy), Thirkell-White joined MI5 in 1991 after noticing a cryptic advertisement in the Independent on Sunday. Headlined "Godot Isn't Com ing", it was the same one that enticed Shayler. He holds moderate liberal views and was a CND activist for many years. But his grandparents had served in the colonial service in Burma: joining the secret world was not an alien concept.

Thirkell-White left MI5 a disillusioned man. He was not angry, but disappointed. When Shayler revealed a series of blunders and cover-ups, he knew from inside that many of them could be true.

He had always agreed with Shayler's analysis of MI5's failings (both resigned from the organisation in 1996) but was originally deterred, as well as appalled, by the harassment and the imprisonment of his former colleague. (Shayler spent four months in a French jail fighting the UK extradition attempt).

When I met him, he had been thinking about going public for several months. It was a considered and measured decision. However, he was determined to say nothing that was harmful to the nation. (In this he was successful. Security experts have confirmed that he has made no disclosures about MI5 that are genuinely damaging to national security.) He never sought money.

It was MI5 management's unwillingness to reform that eventually wore down Thirkell-White. Like Shayler, he believed that targeting terrorists meant that MI5's internal procedures needed radical modernisation. But there was institutional resistance. MI5's endless committees were cumbersome. Security always seemed to be the excuse to do nothing.

Thirkell-White knew Shayler reasonably well and was part of the same intake. He understands why his former colleague went public: there was no mechanism for internal dissent within the closed organisation.

Thirkell-White too, seems to have had no confidence in the so-called staff counsellor. As a former permanent secretary and a Whitehall insider, no one ever went to see him. Staff were expected to tell the personnel department they had seen the counsellor so there was little trust. Thirkell-White's generation clearly felt any complainant would be reported back to the director-general.

Jestyn Thirkell-White has no plans to make any further statements. And MI5, although deeply dismayed, are not intending to make the foolish mistake of attempting another prosecution.

But he may have opened the floodgates for other former intelligence officers to tell their story in a similarly moderate and measured fashion. And the Official Secrets Act now appears unable to prevent them from speaking out.

In achieving this, Mr Thirkell-White has performed a public service.

The author wrote, with Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm - MI5 and the Shayler Affair, Andre Deutsch

Second MI5 officer attacks security service,4273,4043199,00.html

Second MI5 officer joins attack on service

Mark Hollingsworth

Guardian Saturday July 22, 2000

A second MI5 officer, Jestyn Thirkell-White, has decided to speak out to the Guardian in the wake of attempts on behalf of MI5 to harass the press.

He backs many of the allegations of mismanagement made by his former colleague, the renegade MI5 officer David Shayler.

"I think it is totally wrong that there has been no serious investigation into Shayler's allegations," he says. "Instead, the government has harassed his friends. I thought the arrest of his student supporter Julie Anne Davies, and another of his friends for so-called money laundering - he was never charged - was unjust and outrageous. It was totally disproportionate to the alleged offence. MI5 and special branch were acting like the very police state they are supposed to be protecting us from."

Mr Thirkell-White, who resigned from MI5 in 1996 and now works as a banker, says: "I do not accept Jack Straw's statements that Shayler's revelations have in any way damaged national security." This included Mr Shayler's claim that the sister overseas espionage organisation, MI6, had colluded in an assassination plot by opponents of Col Gadafy in Libya, and that Libyan intelligence officers had been active in London.

Mr Thirkell-White also agrees that the organisation has been in desperate need of reform and modernisation.

"When David went public, I expected an independent inquiry, because the allegations were serious enough to warrant proper investigation: instead, MI5 appointed a former deputy director, John Alpass, who was a friend and colleague of MI5 chief Steven Lander, to conduct a broad review of all three intelligence organisations - MI5, MI6 and GCQ. That was quite wrong."

Mr Thirkell-White and Mr Shayler served together in T Branch (anti-terrorism), where Mr Thirkell-White was trying to block flows of arms and money to the IRA from Eastern Europe and the US.

He backs up one of Mr Shayler's most seemingly bizarre allegations - that MI5 officers wasted vital hours in the search for IRA bombers dickering about the wording of warrants, because of bureaucratic "turf wars" with the police special branch.

MI5 had successfully seized control of anti-IRA operations from the police in the early 1990s, while searching for a new role at the end of the cold war.

"The endless redrafting was nothing to do with protecting people's civil liberties. MI5 were desperate to keep their new role and en sure the special branch could not regain that role. They were desperate to ensure the special branch could not point to any procedural mistake."

Mr Thirkell-White joined MI5 from Cambridge alongside Mr Shayler in 1991. Like him, he was startled to discover the archaic nature of the organisation. Officers still wrote out reports in longhand, for a secretary to draft and then retype after laborious corrections. "It was appallingly inefficient."

"A lot of officers were asked to write endless briefings, just to generate work. It was too hierarchical, and too many layers of management.",4273,4043199,00.html

The Illuminati - [the occult group signified by an 'all-seeing eye' in a triangle] - what are their aims?

The Illuminati are an occult order - Collins English Dictionary Definition: 'a masonic sect founded in Bavaria in 1778 claiming that the illuminating grace of Christ resided in it alone.'

Why not check out your own encyclopaedia or dictionary?

1.  Abolition of monarchies and all ordered government
2.  Abolition of private property and inheritances
3.  Abolition of national culture and identity
4.  Abolition of family life and the institution of marriage, and the establishment of communal education of children away from their parents
5.  Abolition of all religion

These aims quoted by Nesta Webster in 'World Revolution' p.34



"The security service does not kill people or arrange their assassination," proclaims MI5's official website in a tirade of denials about the organisation's perceived misdemeanours.

"It is subject to the rule of law in just the same way as other public bodies," it adds. So the Hilda Murrell file will therefore remain open for some time yet.

But anyone who believes the MI5 spin that our domestic security service is, and always was, squeaky clean and never used any underhand tactics in the pursuit of its cause (whatever that cause happens to be - which still remains a bit of a mystery) might like to ponder a little reconnaissance mission undertaken by Gadfly at an abandoned office block in north London.


On the corner of the major north London junction of Euston Road and Gower Street - just a stone's throw from University College Hospital and the Slade School of Art - lies an unremarkable demolition site.

The site is located immediately above Euston Square Underground Station and will soon become a brand spanking-new administration block servicing the nearby Glaxo Wellcome Foundation. That site is 140 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BY.

Until some five years ago 140 Gower Street was the anonymous headquarters of MI5 before it moved to the palatial splendour of Thames House next door to Labour's Millbank headquarters in Westminster. It housed the director-general, her secretariat, a particularly sensitive registry and some of the most top secret (and controversial) of MI5's active service units.


It was from 140 Gower Street, according to the late Peter Wright, that MI5 "bugged and burgled its way across London." The same premises also bore "the stench of failure" according to another former MI5 aficionado.

But Gadfly can make a startling revelation about number 140 Gower Street. When this run-down and decaying post-war concrete monstrosity was starting to be demolished last year, Gadfly was walking along Gower Place one summer's evening and found the back door open.

So an impromptu inspection took place. The premises could have been a redundant dole office or local council annex - until you reached the seventh floor.


Inspect the predictable row upon row of small, empty offices and there is little to report. One such office, however, grabbed the attention because it had barred windows. Enter this office and the adjacent office had been converted into a prison cell. It had all the trappings: a steel door with spyhole; heavy-duty Chubb lock; emergency alarm. The cell itself bore only a wooden bench and foot-operated lavatory.

Which begs the question: who had the pleasure of being locked-up inside 140 Gower Street by MI5? "The Secret Service is a civilian organisation and its officers have no executive powers, such as the authority to detain or arrest people," its current website boasts. "It is not a 'secret police force.'"

Anyone wanting to know more about this little mystery will jolly well have to table a parliamentary question to find out, although it is unlikely that the Home Secretary will succumb. However, Gadfly feels it remains considerably more interesting unanswered.


But Gadfly can offer legal proof of this little recce. Also found strewn around the deserted building were some old MI5 files of a particularly tedious nature. In the interest of national security, however, Gadfly dropped them into a nearby police station only to be arrested on suspicion of burglary and locked up in a police cell for some six hours before being released without charge - clutching the obligatory photocopy of the detention record.

Last word, however, to the chaps down at Thames House. "Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1989 is sometimes criticised as prohibiting disclosures even about such matters as the colour of the Thames House carpets and the menu in the staff restaurant," it boasts.

The MI5 wag continues: "These criticisms are misguided: it is not an offence for a member of the Service to disclose that the Thames House carpets are blue, or that the staff restaurant serves a particularly good Chicken Madras!"

from Investigative Journalism Review

MI5 tells supergrass to sign gagging order

May 28 2000

The Sunday Times

THE security service MI5 has demanded that a former undercover agent sign a gagging agreement promising to obey its advice and never to disclose his role nor seek to publicise it, writes Liam Clarke.

In the latest twist to the government's efforts to hush up undercover operations in Northern Ireland, the security service has demanded that the agent's girlfriend, who has also worked for it, should sign as well.

The document was given to Raymond Gilmour, a former Northern Ireland supergrass who infiltrated the IRA and INLA for the RUC in Londonderry in the 1970s and early 1980s. Gilmour, who has been warned by MI5 that he is still under threat from the IRA, has been living in mainland Britain since 1984 under a different identity supplied by the RUC.

Although Gilmour has already written an autobiography vetted by the government, the agreement demands that he and his girlfriend "shall not seek to publicise" their association with the crown "for any purpose whether for their benefit or for a third party".

Last night Gilmour said: "I still have obligations to my publisher, Little Brown, and if I refused to take part in publicity for it I would be in breach of contract." He said he had been offered a one-off payment of about £12,000 to sign the MI5 contract.

John Wadham, who has agreed to act as Gilmour's solicitor in the case, said last night: "If somebody puts their life at risk by helping the police to contain very serious crime then they should be supported and assisted."

The three-page document, a copy of which has been obtained by The Sunday Times, was drawn up by MI5's legal adviser.

Gilmour said: "I gave up my job as a trainee butcher to work for the police. It was at their behest that I joined the INLA and IRA. I thought of myself as an undercover policeman and am proud of what I did, but I was equipped to do nothing except hijack cars and engage in terrorism."

The demand that Gilmour sign the undertaking came after he asked his security service contact for help with a financial problem. It is the latest attempt by the government to end disclosures of undercover activity by former agents.

Last Thursday The Sunday Times was barred from a hearing involving a soldier alleged to be Martin Ingram, the military intelligence whistle-blower. Last year Ingram's disclosures of security force dirty tricks in Northern Ireland, including the burning of a police station to destroy evidence, resulted in gagging injunctions against the paper.

The Sunday Times is seeking to have the reporting restriction set aside.

Top spy chief leads drive to gag press

21May00 - from The Sunday Times

Michael PakenhamONE of Whitehall's top spymasters runs a secret committee that is co-ordinating a wide-ranging crackdown on journalists investigating intelligence scandals.

Michael Pakenham, third son of Lord Longford, the controversial peer, is chairman of the committee, which is so clandestine that the Cabinet Office refuses to disclose its name.

Pakenham's powerful committee is responsible for co- ordinating how Whitehall bosses deal with "unauthorised disclosures" by renegade intelligence service agents such as David Shayler and Richard Tomlinson.

The Sunday Times has established that the committee's members are behind the recent crackdown on the press, which is causing growing concern among civil liberties leaders and newspaper editors.

Pakenham, 56, is probably the most influential spymaster in Britain. It is no secret that he chairs the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which sets priorities for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping centre. As JIC chief he is responsible for ensuring that Tony Blair and other ministers have advance warning of security threats.

Officially, Pakenham's other, more secret, committee monitors policy on disclosures by members or former members of the intelligence services. But in reality it spends an increasing amount of its time discussing policy on gagging journalists.

The committee meets on an ad hoc basis and has up to 20 members, mainly representatives of the intelligence services MI5 and MI6, the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign Office.

Scion of a famous Anglo-Irish family, he joined the Foreign Office, taking up posts as British ambassador in Luxembourg and minister at the British embassy in Paris. He was promoted after the 1997 election to the post of deputy secretary, defence and overseas, a grandiose title which conceals his real job as new Labour's spymaster-in-chief.

One case recently discussed by Pakenham's committee is that of Liam Clarke, Northern Ireland editor of The Sunday Times. Clarke is facing possible arrest by Special Branch over a series of articles about Martin Ingram, a pseudonym for a former member of a covert British Army intelligence unit in Northern Ireland. Ingram alleged that operatives from the unit were complicit in murder and had destroyed police evidence by burning their inquiry headquarters.

Clarke was the latest journalist to face the prospect of a police inquiry for seeking to probe the murky world of Britain's secret services.

This weekend it emerged that another Sunday Times journalist is facing questions from Special Branch over alleged breaches of the secrecy laws by an intelligence services insider.

Detectives from the Yard's financial investigation and special access centre have written to The Sunday Times's lawyers demanding information about an article which reported allegations by Tomlinson, the former MI6 officer, that MI6 had a mole inside the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank.

Richard TomlinsonThe article reported Tomlinson's claim that the mole, codenamed Orcada, had betrayed to MI6 Germany's negotiating position on the Maastricht treaty. He was also paid large sums of money to hand over information on Germany's proposed interest-rate movement and other economic secrets.

Last week Yard officers, accompanied by armed Italian police, raided Tomlinson's hotel room in Rimini, Italy, and seized his computer, diary and mobile telephone.

Tomlinson said: "I opened the door and they poured in at gunpoint. All my legal papers have been taken."

In a letter to The Sunday Times's lawyers, police wrote: "A criminal investigation into alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Acts 1911-1989 is being undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Special Branch. Part of this investigation revolves around an article in The Sunday Times newspaper."

The article was written in September 1998 by The Sunday Times Insight team. Detectives have asked David Leppard, the Insight editor, to disclose whether he was in direct contact with Tomlinson "for any material relating to this article". The newspaper is resisting the demand.

Insight: David Leppard, Paul Nuki, Gareth Walsh, Nick Fielding

from The Sunday Times

Spy chiefs urged arrest of Rimington

James Clark, Home Affairs Correspondent

21May00 - from The Sunday Times

SENIOR MI6 officers were so angry with Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of its sister service MI5, over her plans to publish her memoirs that they lobbied to have her arrested under the Official Secrets Act.

When that failed after objections from other intelligence staff, elements within the agency launched a dirty tricks campaign against her, according to a senior source.

Figures within MI6 - the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) - leaked news of the book, and an alleged £1m fee, to a tabloid newspaper, a senior Whitehall mandarin has told The Sunday Times.

He said "furious" MI6 officers had insisted at a secret Whitehall meeting about 10 days ago that Special Branch officers should arrest Rimington at her home that day, "even if it means taking her door down".

The meeting was called after she sent a draft of her manuscript to the MI5 chief, Stephen Lander, her successor at the helm of the service, more than a month ago.

After an arrest was ruled out as too embarrassing, SIS staff turned instead to the press, the source claimed, adding that private negotiations about the book between Lander, Rimington and the head of MI6 were still going on when the leak took place.

"They are livid, really livid," he said. "They view this as a betrayal, as profiteering and as an invitation to other intelligence officers to do the same. They wanted her arrested under the Official Secrets Act straight away."

The book was almost certain to be published in some form, despite reservations, he said. "She's written it quite sensibly, apparently, but there will be a number of things they will insist on taking out."

The book, which according to a literary source already has a publisher, could have far-reaching consequences for official secrecy. It sets at least two legal precedents that will make it easier for soldiers, civil servants and intelligence staff to write about their work, provided they are prepared to allow scripts to be vetted.

Rimington, 64, a career intelligence officer, ran the domestic security agency between 1992 and 1996 at the height of the war against the IRA and was in charge of the MI5 section that targeted elements of the National Union of Mineworkers during the 1984 strike.

She was the first, and only, woman to head an arm of British intelligence. Since leaving the secret world, she has joined the boards of several companies and charities and given lectures around the world.

Her relationship with MI5's sister service at Vauxhall Cross was always rocky. MI6 was angry when she outmanoeuvred it to claim the lead role in fighting the IRA, even though it was MI6 that first began negotiations with the Provisionals. MI6 was also unhappy about her moves to bring more openness to her service.

Her book is understood to contain revelations about the negotiations with the IRA that were conducted initially by MI6 and then taken over by MI5, as well as chapters on domestic threats, Russian intelligence and internal politics between the services. However, much of the text concerns her private life, upbringing and family. "It's more about why she did things than what she did," said a source.

The book will be dedicated to her two daughters, both of whom went through periods of "difficulty" during Rimington's years away from them at work.

The source said: "She wants to do it for them too, it seems, in order to show them why she was away so much and how important it was. Often they didn't know where she was. It appears to be a sort of cleansing, perhaps reaching a certain time in life and trying to put a few things right."

The truth will out

Editorial: 21May00 - from The Sunday Times

Whitehall appears to be suffering from a virulent form of the disease that deludes top civil servants every so often into believing they can deflect newspapers such as The Sunday Times from doing their jobs. Not content with calling for our Northern Ireland editor to be arrested, and issuing blanket injunctions against our reporting the illegal activities of the army's Force Research Unit (FRU), a secret committee of the Cabinet Office has decided to rein us in over an Insight report in 1998 that MI6 had a paid man in the Bundesbank who revealed Germany's negotiating position over the Maastricht treaty.

The mandarins' tardy attempts to put pressure on Insight follow hard on the heels of the Ministry of Defence's hamfisted efforts to silence our reporting of FRU's shenanigans during the Ulster emergency. This newspaper will resist them both, just as it has resisted and ultimately defeated every serious attempt to silence it for the past 40 years, from the publication of Richard Crossman's cabinet diaries to the thalidomide affair and the debacle over Spycatcher.

The defence ministry's backdoor efforts to muzzle us are marginally preferable to Whitehall's moves against Insight. Misguided though he is, Geoffrey Hoon, the defence secretary, has the grace to attempt a defence of his injunction against us in our letters page today. Mr Hoon shelters behind legal thickets but will not admit that The Sunday Times has revealed how servants of the crown have conspired to sabotage a legal investigation. Michael Pakenham, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee which advises Tony Blair on security matters, tries to keep his role in curbing investigative journalism out of the public eye. He may as well reconcile himself to failure. For the threat that he and those who do his bidding pose to this newspaper and other journalists merely strengthens our resolve. Nor will it deter us from finding out more about the activities of FRU and double-dealing in the European Union.

Mr Hoon and Mr Pakenham have the power to use taxpayers' money to set Special Branch onto us, to threaten us with injunctions and to obstruct us. It has been tried before and failed. The truth has a habit of coming out and we shall do our best, without breaking the law, to ensure that it does.

from The Sunday Times

Runaway spy found lurking in the small ads

from The Sunday Times November 14 1999

Nick Fielding

WHO could it be, this former spy seeking work in the small ads in the latest issue of Private Eye, the satirical magazine?

Step forward Richard Tomlinson, formerly of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service and now, by way of France, New Zealand and Switzerland, a would-be snowboard instructor in the Bavarian Alps.

And what are his prospects of more lucrative employment via Private Eye? After serving six months in jail for breaking the Official Secrets Act, Tomlinson has been on the run for breaching bail conditions.

Since he left Britain 15 months ago he has acquired skills in international travel and negotiation: he was arrested at gunpoint in France, expelled from New Zealand and America and prevented from going to Australia. After spending much of the past year living in Switzerland, he was again forced to move on in the summer and settle in Germany.

His new media expertise is also impressive, though he denies leaking the names of 117 MI6 officers on the internet via a Californian website.

In addition, he can offer hands-on experience of executive troubleshooting. As an MI6 officer he worked in Russia, Bosnia and in the murky world of Iranian arms dealers. Alas, there is one slight problem: the former spy might be arrested if he came to Britain.

"I've obviously got to go through unusual routes just to sell myself," Tomlinson said last night. "I can't just walk into Croydon dole office and ask for a job. MI6 normally help their former officers find jobs, but they won't do anything for me."

In 1996, Tomlinson approached The Sunday Times to complain about his dismissal from MI6 and his plans for an industrial tribunal - which was never allowed. He then went to ground and threatened to write a book about his time in the service. He was subsequently convicted of breaching the secrets act and jailed.

"I earn a living at the moment, but I need something a bit more permanent. I do 'due diligence' work for various clients, mostly on the internet, but I'm trying to get a job as a snowboard instructor," he said.

He still plans to publish his book but the prospect of a literary career seems as distant as ever. "I sent an outline to Fourth Estate [a publisher] a few months ago and despite the fact that it contains nothing that compromises security, they had their computers seized. It's just an interesting lifestyle story really.

"MI6 seem determined to prevent me publishing. They have copyright on anything to do with my work on MI6, but not on anything since."

His choice of Private Eye to sell himself seems appropriate. It appears to be popular reading - various old covers of the magazine were found at MI5's headquarters in Gower Street, London, when the service moved buildings.

The magazine's record on responses to ads, however, is hit and miss. An advertiser seeking "angels" for a West End musical once secured £13,000, one Hell's Angel and two actresses who wanted to dress up in wings. One ad "Spike Milligan would like to meet a rich, well-insured widow - intention, murder" was not so successful.

from The Sunday Times

MI5 Press Release



089/98 10 March 1998


A public telephone number - the MI5 Phoneline - has today been set up by the Security Service ("MI5") to make it easier for people to pass on information which could help the Service do its work.

The number - 0171 930 9000 - can be found through Directory Enquiries and will appear in new telephone directories under "Security Service" and "MI5".

Reliable information is essential to help the Service identify threats to the United Kingdom's security, wherever in the world they originate.

People have always been one of the Service's most important sources of information. They can help to counter a terrorist group, uncover a hostile foreign intelligence operation, or thwart the export of parts for nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

They may be public spirited individuals who notice activities which they think are a threat, and who want to report their concerns.

Others may be people who are personally involved in the groups investigated by the service, or who are closely associated with them and who want, for whatever reason, to volunteer information secretly.

Whoever they are, the MI5 Phoneline will make it easier to get in touch with the Security Service. Callers' identities will be protected with greatest care - the Security Service places the highest priority on the safety of people who help in this way.

For the same reason, the Service uses the information it receives with equally great care.

Because the service will have to be sure that callers are who they say they are, staff manning the system will ask for information about the caller and their circumstances.

The MI5 Phoneline is not designed to replace the 999 system for emergencies which need an immediate response from the police or emergency services, or the anti- terrorist hotline - 0800 789 321 - which is for giving police information about a terrorist incident which has happened or may be about to occur.

The Phoneline will be staffed initially during extended office hours - from 0730 until 2330 - seven days a week. There will be a limited number of lines available, so at busy times, particularly in the first few days of operation, callers may find it difficult to get through. The Service hopes that anyone with genuine information willbe patient and try again later. People can write to the Service if they prefer, at The Enquiries Desk, PO Box 3255, London SW1P 1AE.

Notes to Editors

1. The Service's job is to protect national security. Its main tasks are the fight against terrorism, espionage and the spreading of weapons of mass destruction. It also acts, at their request, in support of the police, HM Customs and other law-enforcement agencies to counter serious crime.

2. Questions and answers on the Phoneline are attached.


1. How can ordinary members of the public help? Can they volunteer to be spies?

The Service continues to rely, as it always has done, on members of the public to assist it in various ways. Members of the public who genuinely believe they have information relevant to the Service's functions and which they can substantiate should ring the Phoneline.

2. Why now?

The Service has been considering having a public telephone number for some time. The decision to introduce the line now reflects a judgement that the potential benefits, in terms of developing new sources of intelligence and acquiring useful information, are likely to outweigh any disadvantages. It is also consistent with the moves over recent years towards making the Service more accessible.

3. How can members of the public find out more about the Security Service?

The Phoneline is not intended as a means of contacting the service about employment opportunities, of seek information about the Service or registering a complaint under the Security Service Act 1989. The Security Service does not have a press office and operators will not be able to answer enquiries from the media or the general public about the Service or its work. They will, however, be able to advise on how such enquiries might be pursued, A 36 page HMSO booklet describing the Security Service and its work was published in 1993. The current edition was published in 1996; a revised edition will appear shortly.

4. A Snooper's Charter?

The Phoneline is being established only for the purposes specified in the 1989 Security Service Act that govern the operations and functions of the Security Service. The Service will need to satisfy itself that any information it receives is genuinely relevant to its statutory functions before acting on it. Callers offering information which is not relevant to the functions of the Service will be invited to contact the appropriate authorities.

There will be no connection with information lines set up by other agencies, for example the Benefits Agency fraudline. the Security Service will not use information which does not relate to its statutory functions.

5. What sort of calls does the Service not wish to receive on the Phoneline?

The Service does not wish to receive calls in the following general categories:

6. Isn't it confusing to have yet another hotline, in addition to 999 and the Anti-Terrorist Hotline?

The Security Service Phoneline is not a "hotline" (ie a means of reporting information relating to imminent or recent acts of criminality, whether or not terrorist- related.) Anyone with information about activities which pose an imminent threat to life or property should contact the police.

7. What about the Secret Intelligence Service ("MI6")?

The Security Service's decision to set up a Phoneline reflects its judgements about its own operational priorities and functions as laid down in the relevant legislation. The Security Service (MI5) and SIS (MI6) are two separate organisations with different statutory functions.

8. Will calls be recorded?


9. When will the line be manned? What happens to calls out of hours?

The switchboard will be manned initially from 0730 to 2330 seven days a week. Out of hours, callers with urgent information for example about imminent acts of terrorist or other crime will be given a recorded message advising them to contact the police or the emergency services.

10. Will callers have to give their name?

Preferably but not necessarily. However, the Service will need to establish the bona fides of any caller offering information which it judges to be significant

11. What if someone hacks into the answerphones?

Secure arrangements will be used.

12. Will information obtained via the Phoneline be shared with the police?

Yes, where it is relevant. Where the police or other law enforcement agency is likely to have to respond immediately as a result of the information being offered, the caller will be advised to contact those authorities direct.

13. What about fax and e-mail?

Fax facilities will be available where necessary, but there are currently no plans to have a public e-mail address.

14. Is this a public relations exercise or a reflection of greater openness?

The decision to set up the Phoneline now has been made on operational grounds as a means of helping the service to carry out its work. However, it is consistent with other initiatives the Service has taken in recent years (and especially since 1993) to inform the public about its roles and responsibilities and to build on the invaluable public co-operation and support it already receives.

15. Where can people find the number?

The Phoneline telephone number will be available from BT Directory Enquiries under "Security Service" and "MI5".


17-19 October 1997  The Ditchley Foundation -

Ditchley had last considered secret intelligence in 1988, with the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union in place, the existence of intelligence agencies still unavowed in several countries, and the whole activity so shrouded in official reticence that even the holding of the conference had attracted eminent disapproval. We met now in a transformed international setting, and with at least some of the veils cast aside.

But with the Cold War over, what was it all now for? We were in no doubt that diverse threats remained to international order and legitimate national interest. The world was complex and uncertain; deviant political leaders were not a phenomenon entirely of the past; the exploitation and inexorable spread of technology brought new national and societal vulnerabilities. Military conflict, in particular, had not vanished from the global scene, and good military intelligence was a force multiplier essential for successful outcomes. Crime and terrorism - not always tidily distinguishable - increasingly crossed frontiers and commanded large resources and technical skills. If governments were to serve their people well in countering all these menaces, actual and potential, they needed pertinent, dependable and timely information.

All that said, it was evident that there were many fewer fiercely-closed societies than a decade ago for Western governments to interact with, and technology had itself massively enhanced the flow of open information. Was secret intelligence still needed on anything like the old scale, and how much value could it really add? Sometimes very little, we conceded; sometimes however, and crucially, a lot. We recalled the classic difference between mysteries - things inherently unknowable, like Saddam Hussein's future intentions - and secrets - things kept hidden, like his chemical-weapon holdings; and we knew that secret intelligence could offer no sure access to the former. But opponents in adversarial settings were almost always minded toward concealment in one way or another; CNN, however rapid, was not always right or balanced; in other situations, needed data might become openly available too late for timely action; and secret intelligence could help in special degree towards sorting, integrating, calibrating and verifying the open flood.

We paused on commercial intelligence only long enough to note the dangers of its being collected by governments. It was understandable that they might wish to counter corruption or unfair competition operating to the detriment of their citizens, but the activity - especially if directed against activity in countries viewed as friendly - risked damaging relationships, not least within the intelligence field itself.

International cooperation engaged a good deal of our intention. The desirability of shared understandings of the world was evident, for example in relation to Europe's aspiration towards a Common Foreign and Security Policy. There were areas of specific activity, as possibly in how to deal with the commercial dissemination of high-quality encryption capability or in combating international drug-related crime, in which most democratic governments might have similar interests and should therefore be capable of working together on intelligence. Bosnia and the pursuit of Saddam's WMD capabilities had brought home to UN authorities, once apt to find the very notions of secret intelligence and of communications-security repugnant (and still suspicious of national manipulation), that these were essential components of a capacity to act effectively. And the costs of secret intelligence activity made ideas of burden-sharing and specialisation among like-minded countries in principle persuasive.

The difficulties however were extensive. It was, for instance, far from certain that UN activities involving a wide diversity of participants could command either the skills to use intelligence well or the disciplines, and genuine commonality of interest, to guard it and its sources. Some of these considerations weighed even upon cooperation with political friends; and thorough-going money-saving interdependence required an identity of recognised long-term interest, and perhaps also of governmental culture, that could not generally be taken for granted. Particular "clubs", varying with issues and usually marked by a clear leadership country or group, were often the best practical route to cooperation. Nevertheless, our sense overall was that there needed to be more international sharing, especially in analysis as distinct from collection.

The need for better cooperation and coordination held good also, so several participants argued, at an earlier point, within nations: understanding, interaction and two-way dialogue could still be improved both among different collection agencies and between data-gatherers, analysts and decision-taking users. In at least some of our countries agencies and users still seemed insufficiently aware of and responsive to one another's needs and capabilities; systems as a whole might need further reform to improve flexibility, relevance and reaction times (and perhaps also to sharpen skills in relating risk to importance and cost in targeting). We noted, too, that amid the data deluge private-sector competence might have a contribution to make, for example in analysis. We reached however no clear consensus on whether matters would be improved by the creation of intelligence "supremos" in executive charge of the whole field, though centralised assessment had strong support.

We wrestled with the concept of value for money in intelligence effort, and how it was to be measured and made operational. The notion of a straightforward market in which users paid for the particular intelligence efforts they wanted found no friends; even if value and cost were (and in fact they were not) in a tidy relationship, intelligence was a long-term broadly-based activity in which action-supporting outputs could rarely be neatly connected - especially before the event - with specific resource inputs. The principle of "customer pays", even if bureaucratically workable at all, might encourage a short-termism wholly at odds with the reality that many aspects of intelligence-gathering required patient and in a sense speculative long-term investment. The customer was often better qualified to influence where existing capability should be applied than where investment in future capability should go. There was however merit, we acknowledged, in regular post-mortem to examine value and to learn lessons; and it was suggested even that occasionally a "Team B" approach, with rival assessment deliberately fostered as challenge to mainstream structures, could yield healthy dividends. We heard voices - albeit contested ones - suggesting that the mainstream was prone to overvalue secret as against open sources; and that processes were too slow to adapt to the information revolution and the implications of the cyberspace arena.

We recognised, with a near-unanimity which might scarcely have been evident a decade ago, the crucial importance of persuading publics, as citizens and taxpayers, that secret intelligence was needed and useful, efficiently managed and not improperly conducted. The task was not easy against a background of opinion largely formed by a mix of imaginative fiction and occasional scandal, focused upon cloak-and-dagger activity that in reality formed at most a very small part of total effort. Failures - the emergence of the unforeseen, or penetration by hostile interests - tended to be evident, and successes - often in the form of disagreeable events headed off and so not happening - hard to advertise or to prove. Publics wanted to feel secure, but could readily be tempted to suspect a misuse of secrecy as cover for incompetence or wrongdoing. All this placed a high premium - higher than intelligence professionals had in the past been disposed to accept - upon justification and trustworthy oversight; and this became a major theme in our conference.

Oversight in the form of internal-to-government accountability to elected political leaders on every aspect was, so it was claimed, salutarily established in most (not all) of our countries. But this could not nowadays alone command public confidence; external political scrutiny was increasingly essential in order visibly to stimulate and demand good system performance, to defend the intelligence contribution where necessary, and to guard against malpractice - though we heard suggestions that political overseers might be excessively drawn to concentrate, for publicity reasons, upon this last. In some of our countries external scrutiny had made large advances within the past decade (and earlier worries about indiscretion among scrutineers had generally proved over-anxious). International dialogue and exchange of experience might strengthen these advances. In one or two countries however, perhaps for special reasons, oversight had still not taken root, to the detriment both of public respect and probably of system performance.

We noted, but did not find time to plumb, the contribution towards oversight and consequent public reassurance that might be made by the regular processes of financial audit, by the law and the courts, and by special devices like ombudsmen or commissioners to review particular categories of activity. Predictably, divergent opinions were to be heard about the contribution of the media, with some participants stressing their inescapable weight in forming opinion and others their role as competitors to intelligence and their propensity to exaggerate, demonise or trivialise its work. The majority perhaps felt, in this as in other fields, that the wise course was to help the media understand (even if the will to do that was fairly uneven) rather than to attempt exclusion.

Our discussion of the growing role of the intelligence agencies in countering crime raised several issues. We recognised that there was often a unique contribution to be made, and that provided that contribution was made in the service and under the authority of due law-enforcement authorities there was every reason to exploit it. There was misgiving expressed, though not generally shared, about consequent threats to proper civil liberties; and also a recognition that awkward trade-offs could arise between intelligence considerations like the protection of sources and the effective deployment of information under proper rules of evidence in the prosecution of malefactors.

The fields of crime and terrorism highlighted awkward issues about the ethics of intelligence-gathering where it rubbed up (not often, but not never) against the boundaries of normal domestic law, or where it entailed doing business with, and acquiescing to some degree in the continued activity of, unsavoury characters. Here again - if perhaps to the relief of some - time prevented our delving as deep as the issues warranted; we did little more than acknowledge the awkwardness of reconciling aspirations to strict propriety with the practical imperatives of protecting the public in arenas where adversaries played by no rules. Perhaps some doctrine of proportionality - a little law-breaking or blind-eye-turning to secure a big public benefit? - might help; but we left that mostly for Ditchley's next conference on intelligence.

PARTICIPANTS Chairman : The Honorable R James Woolsey Formerly Director, Central Intelligence

AUSTRALIA Ms Margaret Twomey First Secretary (Liaison Officer for the Office of Material Assessments), Australian High Commission, London

CANADA Mr Anthony Campbell The Honorable Edwin A Goodman PC OC QC Member, Security Intelligence Review Committee Dr Wesley Wark Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto Dr Reginald Whitaker Professor of Political Science, York University, Ontario

FRANCE Monsieur Olivier Debouzy Lawyer, August & Debouzy, Paris; formerly foreign service officer Monsieur Jean-Louis Gergorin Professor Christopher Andrew Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, University of Cambridge Mr Jimmy Burns Reporter, Financial Times Mr Dale Campbell-Savours MP Member, Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee Mr Stephen Hawker Minister of Defence Professor Peter Hennessy Professor of Contemporary History, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London Mr Michael Herman Former civil servant, author The Rt Hon Tom King CH MP Chairman, Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee Sir Colin McColl KCMG Chief, Secret Intelligence Service, 1988-94 Mr John N L Morrison Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, Ministry of Defence Mr David Omand Director, Government Communications Headquarters Mr Michael Pakenham CMG Deputy Secretary, Cabinet Office, and Chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee The Baroness Park of Monmouth CMG OBE Formerly HM Diplomatic Service Mr David Rose Writer and broadcaster Sir David Spedding KCMG CVO OBE Chief, Secret Intelligence Service Mr Kevin Tebbit Deputy Under-Secretary of State (Defence), Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Gerald Warner KCMG Intelligence Co-ordinator, Cabinet Office, 1990-96

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Dr Morton H Halperin Senior Vice President, Twentieth Century Fund The Honorable Jeffrey K Harris President, EOSAT Mr Ted Price Formerly Deputy Director for Operations, CIA Ms Elizabeth R Rindskopf Formerly General Counsel to the CIA and senior legal adviser to the US Intelligence Community Mr Elliot Stein Managing Director, Commonwealth Capital Partners Mr Thomas Twetten Formerly Deputy Director for Operations, CIA Dr Judith S Yaphe Formerly Senior Analyst, CIA

Security services forced to comply with privacy law

From: - 1998

Hundreds of thousands of secret intelligence files held by MI5 and MI6 could be destroyed after the Data Protection Commissioner ordered the security and intelligence agencies to register their huge databases under the Data Protection Act.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, formerly the Data Protection Registrar, has been negotiating with MI5 , MI6 and GCHQ to register under the 1984 Data Protection Act for more than five years.

Security chiefs have resisted the move claiming that they are entitled to blanket exemption from complying with the Data Protection Act 1984 which incorporates the Data Protection Principles into UK law.

These require that data is collected fairly and lawfully, that it is accurate and kept up to date, and is only used forr the purposes stated in its entry on the Data Protection Register.

But following the introduction of the Data Protection Act 1998 earlier this year, the Commissioner informed intelligence chiefs that they could face court action if they failed to register under the Data Protection Acts.

This week the Assistant Data Protection Commissioner Jonathan Bamford, told the Investigative Journalism Review: "We had made it clear to these agencies that we expect them to register under the Data Protection Acts and comply fully with the Data Protection Principles."

He added: "We will investigate any complaints - now called 'requests for assessment' - that we may review in relation to these agencies in the same way as far as any other data user."

The Commissioner confirmed that the three agencies have now sent application forms to register under the Data Protection Acts. The application for GCHQ has been returned and it's entry now appears on the Data Protection Register.

The Investigative Journalism Review has also learned this week that the head of MI5, Sir Stephen Lander, has received an application under the Data Protection Act from the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker.

In his letter to Sir Stephen, dated 12th July, the MP for Lewes wrote: "As you will know, the Office of the Data Protection Registrar is of the view that the UK's security and intelligence agencies are duty bound to comply with the Data Protection Principles and thus the Data Protection Acts"

It continues: "Accordingly, I would appreciate it if you would kindly now advise me as to the procedure you plan to adopt in order to process this request, and also the prospective time-scale that will apply to this application."

The Home Office would not comment on this application this week. Both it and the Foreign Office, which over see the work of MI5 and MI6 respectively, referred the Investigative Journalism Review to the Cabinet Office.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office indicated that the government will not intervene over the Commissioner's tough line on the security and intelligence services: "This is a matter concerning the Data Protection Acts and is therefore a matter for the Data Protection Commissioner

From: Investigative Journalism Review

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