CIA man scorns 'spying operation'

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The Independent Online
A SENIOR officer from the US intelligence service, the CIA, poured scorn on the operation surrounding the alleged sale of secrets from one of Britain's top weapons research centres as bearing no 'hallmarks' of a KGB operation, it emerged at the Old Bailey yesterday.

The officer, now retired, ran international operations against the KGB. He was identified only as Mr P. His evidence was heard in closed court in the trial of Michael Smith, the engineer facing charges under the Official Secrets Act.

Mr Smith, 45, from Kingston upon Thames, south-west London, is accused of being a Russian agent and handing over information from GEC's Hirst Research Centre.

Rock Tansey QC, representing Mr Smith, said Mr P had listed observations which pointed to the case against his client as 'not bearing the hallmarks of a KGB operation.'

Mr Smith was a member of the Communist Party in the early 1970s. Mr P claimed the KGB in 1990-91 would not have used a former member of the Communist Party.

Mr Tansey also pointed out that none of the 'paraphernalia' of a KGB agent was ever found at Mr Smith's home. No 'hiding places, no suitcases with false bottoms, no radio transmitter, no false passport, no micro-dots and no Minox camera' were discovered.

Mr Tansey said Mr P had been surprised that no devices to hide documents were found. Mr P also said that if Mr Smith had worked for the KGB he would never have held on to the notes (found at his home) which referred to alleged KGB techniques. KGB agents, Mr P said, did not keep such material, they destroyed it.

There were doubts about a letter found in Mr Smith's home, signed 'Williams', which the prosecution claim is a KGB 'reactivation' signal. Mr P said the KGB would not use a handwritten letter.

If Mr Smith was KGB, said Mr P, the idea that he was left with no warning or escape plan was 'unbelievable'.

The trial continues today.