MI5 and MI6 produce Matrix Churchill texts

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Indy Politics
LORD JUSTICE SCOTT, the judge inquiring into the Matrix Churchill affair, has demanded and received full texts of MI5 and MI6 communications in order to piece together a narrative of events leading to the alleged cover-up of illegal arms sales, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

The judge has made it clear to the intelligence agencies and government departments that he wants to see source material that passed between them, not summaries or second-hand accounts.

The exercise is part of his scrutiny of 30,000 pages of documents before beginning oral evidence sessions to which Baroness Thatcher, the former prime minister, is expected to be called.

No agency or department has yet refused to hand over the material requested - which includes all the pages missing from papers supplied to defence lawyers for the three former Matrix Churchill executives cleared of illegal exports last November. Some of the information supplied has prompted the judge to call for further documents.

Members of the public have also made submissions.

Christopher Muttukumaru, one of the lawyers assisting the judge and secretary to the inquiry, re-affirmed Lord Justice Scott's intention to hear 'as much evidence as possible' in public when oral sessions begin in four to five weeks' time. But the judge will almost certainly allow MI5 and MI6 officers to give their evidence in private because of national security implications. Witnesses will also be given notice of likely areas of questioning.