Gulf Times (Qatar) : MI6 played no part in spy death: officer

Friday, April 27, 2012

MI6 played no part in spy death: officer

London Evening Standard/London | April 27, 2012

MI6 yesterday denied allegations that its “black arts” were involved in the death of spy Gareth Williams, or in any related cover-up.

A senior officer told the Westminster coroner’s court inquest there was no evidence that MI6 knew about the codebreaker’s death until after police found his naked, decomposing body locked inside a sports bag.

Speaking anonymously from behind a screen, she denied Williams family claims that the “black arts” of an intelligence organisation were involved in the mysterious death.

The officer, referred to only as SIS F, said a “very comprehensive review” carried out by the intelligence agency 12 months after the death found no link with Williams’s security service work.

He had made some unauthorised searches on the secret intelligence service database, creating a “theoretical possibility” that he could have been open to blackmail by a “malign or hostile” foreign power. But there was no evidence that anyone knew about it, nor that any “foreign intelligence or security organisation” represented any threat to Williams.

He had been fully vetted and assessed as “very low risk”, said the officer.
Williams had not been required to inform his bosses about a collection of women’s clothing worth £20,000 in his Pimlico flat. But if he’d had any concerns about possible sexual preferences or lifestyle, he should have raised it with MI6 so any possible risk could be analysed, the officer said.

Williams, 31, was on secondment to MI6 from the GCHQ government listening post when he was found dead in 2010. The inquest has heard that he probably lay undiscovered for eight days before his family reported him missing, and that his MI6 line manager failed to raise the alarm.

Witness SIS F said Williams was “highly skilled” with a “very able technical brain” and rated by GCHQ as “a world-class contributor to his field”.

The hearing continues.