Files reveal previously unknown UK-Soviet diplomatic scuffle

Aubone Pyke

Aubone Pyke

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A previously unknown fracas between two British diplomatic officials, their wives, and a team of Soviet intelligence agents, has been revealed in declassified British government reports. The documents, which were released last weekend, show that two employees of the British embassy in Moscow were detained, along with their wives, allegedly for photographing a Soviet military installation. The British diplomats were Lieutenant-Commanders Ian Clapham and Aubone Pyke, who was the embassy’s assistant military attaché. Escorted by their wives, the two officials were allegedly taking a tour of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), in February of 1979, when a group of “about 25” Soviet intelligence agents rapidly approached them. The agents proceeded to confiscate a cameral belonging to Pyke, after rapidly pulling down his trousers, an old trick aimed to prevent a suspect from running away. Read more of this post

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A veteran British envoy on diplomacy, sex and espionage

Christopher Meyer

Christopher Meyer

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
British newspaper The Daily Mail has published a well-written and entertaining essay by a longtime UK government envoy, explaining the close links between diplomacy, sex and espionage. Sir Christopher Meyer, a career diplomat with the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, served in several countries during his career, including the Soviet Union and Spain, as well as in Germany and the United States, where he was ambassador from 1997 to 2003. He argues in his article that “sex and diplomacy have long been bedfellows”, and recounts some of his personal experiences in the former USSR, where he began his 35-year diplomatic career in 1968, as “an innocent, unmarried 24-year- old”. He arrived in Moscow along with Sir Duncan Wilson, Britain’s ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1968 to 1971. Sir Christopher is bold enough to recount that Sir Duncan’s predecessor, Sir Geoffrey Harrison (ambassador from 1965 to 1968), “had to leave [Moscow] in a hurry, having fallen for the charms of his Russian maid –trained and targeted, of course, by the KGB”. Read more of this post

Sex video prompts British diplomat’s resignation

Hudson video

Hudson video

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The British Foreign Office has confirmed that one of its officials stationed in Russia has resigned following the emergence of video footage which shows him cavorting with two prostitutes. British diplomatic sources have identified that James Hudson, a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, is indeed the man shown having sex with prostitutes in a black-and-white surveillance film, which was probably shot in a brothel in the Russian city of Ekaterinberg. Mr. Hudson was Britain’s Deputy Consul General in the city, also known as Yekaterinburg, which is a major industrial center and is described as “a key outpost for British trade”. The explicit video, which was anonymously posted on a Russian news website under the title “Adventures of Mr Hudson in Russia”, is thought to have been shot by agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in what is known in espionage circles as a “honey trap”. Read more of this post

Facebook reveals personal details of future MI6 chief

Sir John Sawers

Sir John Sawers

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Facebook, the Internet social networking site with over 200 million registered users worldwide, has made intelligence headlines once again. Last April, intelNews reported on revelations by Sweden’s armed forces that Swedish soldiers serving with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan were approached on Facebook and asked to provide details on NATO’s military presence in the country. Last weekend, Facebook did it again: British newspaper The Mail on Sunday argued that “potentially compromising” personal details about Sir John Sawers, who has been appointed to the post of Director of MI6, Britain’s primary external intelligence agency, were revealed by his wife on her Facebook account. The paper accused Lady Shelley Sawers of “a major personal security breach” upon discovering that “she had put virtually no privacy protection on her account”, which made it accessible to all of Facebook’s 200 million users. Read more of this post

Is new MI6 head really an outsider?

Sir John Sawers

Sir John Sawers

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Soon after Downing Street announced the pending appointment of Sir John Sawers to the post of Director of MI6, Britain’s primary external intelligence agency, many hurried to call the choice a “break with tradition”. This is because Sir John’s official career description is that of a diplomat. It is true that appointing anyone other than a seasoned intelligence professional to the helm of MI6 or MI5 is highly unusual. The last time this happened was in 1968, when Sir John Rennie, also a diplomat, was tasked to head MI6. But how much of an intelligence outsider is Sawers, really? The truth is that he will actually be rejoining MI6, where he began his career in 1977, serving in Syria and Yemen, among other places. The question that nobody in Whitehall will answer is when exactly Sawers left the service. The London Times claims he did so “in the 1980s”, when he joined the diplomatic service. The question is, of course, did he actually leave MI6? Or did he linger in one of the agency’s many desks that overlap with Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service? Read more of this post