Bunhill: BA mole resurfaces

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The Independent Online
Warning to fellow journalists and followers of British Airways: the airline's 'mole' has resurfaced. After the revelation in the Independent on Sunday last year that a man known as 'Twickenham Robert' - because of his fondness for posting material from that area - was not a BA employee at all but a retired paint factory manager, the stream of anti-BA stories - many well- informed, some false - ceased. Robert, real name Michael John Taylor, changed his phone number and disappeared. Now, though, I hear that a man claiming to be a senior BA employee has been sharing his thoughts with those desperate for new angles on the dirty tricks - similar way of talking and modus operandi.

More on Taylor. During my long conversations with him he told me of meeting Michael Levin, the mysterious US management consultant employed by Sir Colin Marshall, the BA chief, in a car park at Heathrow. He knew all about Levin, an ex-Green Beret, ex-CIA operative and a self-proclaimed expert in 'psychological warfare'. Levin was fired from BA in 1989 after a secretary brought a sexual harassment case against him in the US. He died last year.

Through the post, though, arrive four extracts from Richard Branson's notebook of daily events at Virgin. The pages record alleged conversations between Levin and journalists, and between Levin and a very senior BA executive. Apparently, Levin had long since left the airline.

Like Branson, Levin also kept a detailed diary. His notebooks, now being sold to the highest bidder by his son Christopher, apparently contain references to contacts with someone calling himself 'the Official Duty Mole'. Who can that be, I wonder?

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