They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Sunday, June 18, 2006

British Spooks in IRA - Known Unknowns

Sunday Life

Spying game played out on a 'need-to-know' basis by spooks

Some of the most important British agents within the IRA never met their handlers in Ireland because they were so highly-placed, their security couldn't be risked.

And despite claim and counter-claim over Martin McGuinness, former spooks said few within the Northern Ireland security establishment would have known if he was.

One officer with 30 years' experience said the public and the IRA would be "astounded" if the full details of who spied on the Provos were ever divulged.

Said the officer: "I personally do not know if Martin McGuinness is, or was, an intelligence asset.

"I wouldn't expect to know, either, because the handling of the very highest-level informants was not something that was disclosed - even to the Chief Constable.

"It's no surprise that former police and Stormont security figures, as well as some journalists, say they never heard any whisper of this, frankly, it means nothing."

A former Special Branch officer told Sunday Life: "Genuinely, there was never any chat within the Branch that Martin McGuinness was a Special Branch or MI5 agent - but that does not mean he wasn't a British agent.

"I don't know that this is the case, but I am sufficiently realistic to accept that the absence of chat within the Branch or MI5 doesn't tell the whole picture. Link