Police investigating a mysterious break-in at Special Branch offices in Belfast in March are seeking the extradition from America of a chef who worked at the premises.
Police also announced that nine Metropolitan Police officers have been called in to review the Police Service of Northern Ireland investigation into the incident.
An inquiry into the break-in and its security implications has already been opened by the former senior civil servant Sir John Chilcot, who is to report directly to Northern Ireland Secretary, John Reid.
Knowledgeable sources say there is evidence to link the IRA to the break-in but describe it as strong circumstantial evidence and not proof. Sinn Fein leaders including Gerry Adams are adamant that the IRA was not involved. The position has been made murkier by police sources who appear to have briefed journalists that the break-in was carried out either by army intelligence or by MI5.
In this version of events the burglars then handed sensitive material over to the IRA with the intention of discrediting the Special Branch so that primacy in intelligence would be removed from the Branch.
The man being sought worked in the canteen at Castlereagh Special Branch offices for some time and was on first-name terms with officers. He was questioned in Belfast before leaving for America and again in the US. His lawyer recently issued a statement protesting his innocence.
* One of the first recruits to the Police Service of Northern Ireland escaped injury in a bomb attack in Ballymena, Co Antrim, yesterday. Bomb disposal personnel were called after the explosion, which was caused by a device placed under his car.
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