Jonathan Powell comes clean over plot to spy on Russians
Thursday 19 January 2012
A former UK government official has admitted Britain was behind a plot to spy on Russians with a device hidden in a fake rock, it emerged today.
Russia made the allegations in January 2006, but they were not publicly accepted by the UK before now.
Jonathan Powell, then prime minister Tony Blair's chief of staff, told a BBC documentary: "The spy rock was embarrassing.
"They had us bang to rights. Clearly they had known about it for some time and had been saving it up for a political purpose."
Six years ago, Russian state television broadcast a film claiming British agents had hidden a sophisticated transmitter inside a fake rock which was left on a Moscow street.
Embassy officials then allegedly downloaded classified data from the transmitter using palm-top computers.
The Russian security service, the FSB, linked the rock with claims that British security services were making covert payments to pro-democracy and human rights groups.
Then president Vladimir Putin later introduced a law restricting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from getting funding from foreign governments, causing many to close down.
After the broadcast Mr Blair refused to comment on the crisis, and the Foreign Office denied any improper relations with Russian NGOs.
The documentary series, Putin, Russia and the West, begins tonight on BBC Two.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...