21 Tabard Street
16 September 1998
I enclose a document describing some of MI6s operations against member states of the European Union. I would be grateful if you would pass this to the Intelligence Services Parliamentary Select Committee. Clearly, many of MI6s operations in Europe break European law and are against the spirit of the European Union. I believe that the legality and scope of Britains espionage operations against our European partners should be debated by Parliament, not decided behind closed doors by the JIC and MI6 itself.
I trust that this document will be passed to the Parliamentary select committee in a secure manner.
Geneva, 16 September 1998
The Intelligence Services Select Committee
House of Commons
MI6 Operations against member states of the European Union
I would like to draw your attention to MI6s operations against fellow member states of the European Union. It is my belief that many, if not all, of such operations would be illegal under European law as it is illegal for UK government officials to bribe government officials of fellow European states. I am also concerned that the extent of MI6 operations against European allies are not known by your committee, and their legality has not been debated by Parliament. I suspect that, if MI6 were accountable to Parliament rather than to the JIC, then such operations would not be authorised. I believe that an urgent review of the legality of such operations is required by Parliament, and that European allies should be given the same status as our existing intelligence allies the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
MI6s main European intelligence targets are Germany and France, though there are also requirements against Spain, Italy and Switzerland. The primary intelligence requirement against Germany is economic intelligence, though there are also some requirements against its military capabilities. The primary requirements against France are military, particularly against its nuclear deterrent and advanced military technology.
Espionage operations against our European allies is regarded as highly sensitive within MI6, because officers are aware that this work would be deemed illegal under European law, and has not been authorised by Parliament. All anti-European operations are given the generic codename "Jetstream", and are accorded the same level of secrecy and need-to-know indoctrination as highly sensitive Russian casework. I was never formally indoctrinated to "Jetstream", but I became acquainted with such operations because various friends were working in this area.
Jetstream operations are carried out by all MI6 officers working in European countries and are supported by a UK station (UKB, approximately ten officers based at Vauxhall Cross) which carries out natural cover (undercover as businessmen, journalists etc) against the European target. Much intelligence is gathered from "unconscious" informers who are aware that they are giving away confidential information, but believe that their case officer is a journalist or businessman, and that their information is to be used only in specialist technical publications or trade journals. UKB has, for example, been obtaining for several years intelligence on Frances ability to track submerged submarines using remote sensing from satellites. Operations of this nature do not glean very sensitive information, because clearly the informant thinks that the information is likely to reach the public domain and so would not provide genuinely valuable information. Operations of this sort, I suspect, would not necessarily breach European law.
Of far greater concern are operations where the informer is conscious that he is providing sensitive intelligence to Britain. One such example is the ORCADA operation against the German Bundesbank. ORCADA is a German national and a senior officer in the Bundesbank, with access to all of Germanys most sensitive economic and financial information. (I am aware of the identity of ORCADA, but dare not name him even in this letter. MI6 confiscated my personal computer and encryption software when I was arrested in Paris on August 1 1998 and this still has not been returned. I am therefore obliged to type this on a publicly accessible computer which has no capability to encrypt or otherwise securely protect this document. I cannot therefore be sure of its security, so am not prepared to reveal this detail). ORCADA was recruited by MI6 in approximately 1986 and has since then been a fully conscious agent. His motive is entirely financial, and he is paid very substantially. Indeed, he is amongst the best paid and most important of any of MI6s agents. He provides regular and detailed intelligence on all German interest rate movements , and provided detailed information on the German negotiating position during the Maastricht treaty negotiations. ORCADAs importance to MI6 is such that an MI6 officer is posted full time to Bonn and is dedicated entirely to running him. This MI6 officer works under Chancery cover in the Consulate and, unusually, even his Foreign Office colleagues are unaware that he is a "Friend" (FCO jargon for an MI6 officer), such is the sensitivity of the case. The officer is given lengthy training in economics and finance at the London School of Economics, in addition to being trained to a high degree of fluency in German. Generally, he is a newly recruited officer who has not been "blown" to the BND, the German intelligence service. From 1995 to 1997, this officer was Andrew Mitchell, who joined MI6 at the same time as myself.
What is clearly alarming about this case is that Mitchell and his predecessors and successors have paid ORCADA very substantial sums of money to break German law. I think it unacceptable and amoral that a UK Government official should bribe a German official in this manner and abet him to break the laws of his own country. I suspect that Parliament would not authorise such operations against our European allies if they were aware of them. Almost certainly Mitchell is also in breach of European law.
I trust that you will look into this matter, and allow proper democratic process to determine whether Britain should continue to spy against its European allies.
Here again we disagree with Mr Tomlinson. The crime commited by MI6 is not bribery or to have spyed on the Bundes Bank or a European ally. The problem is whether the operation was decided at the highest level. The affaire Spycatcher has shown the danger of renegate spies "doing their own thing".
BACK TO SHAYLERGATE PAGE