Revealed: British government minister spied for Czechoslovakia

Raymond MawbyBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The BBC has uncovered evidence that a Conservative Party minister was a longtime paid informant for Czechoslovakia’s Cold-War-era secret intelligence service. The discovery was made earlier this month by the BBC’s security correspondent, Gordon Corera, while visiting the declassified archives of the Czechoslovakian ŠtB to investigate an alleged attempt to blackmail British Conservative politician Edward Heath in the 1970s.  Corera’s discovery shows that Raymond Mawby, who was a Tory Member of Parliament from 1955 until 1983, spied for the ŠtB in return for money for nearly a decade, starting in 1961.  The BBC describes Mawby, who served as assistant Postmaster General from 1963 to 1964, and rose to the rank of junior minister in 1963, as “an unusual Tory”, since he was “a working class trade unionist” from Devon. Indeed, his extensive ŠtB file, uncovered by the BBC, shows that he was not as loyal to conservative values as one might think. Mawby was first approached by Czechoslovakian intelligence in November 1960, while attending a cocktail reception at the Czechoslovakian embassy in London. His contacts with his ŠtB handlers became more frequent during the following year when, operating under the codename Laval, he began providing them with political information from the British Houses of Commons, in exchange for regular payments of £100. By 1964, he was on a £400 monthly retainer by the ŠtB, in return for supplying the Czechoslovaks with documents from Parliament, details about the personal lives of his colleagues, and lists of Parliamentary committee members. In one instance, Mawby even supplied his foreign handlers with a hand-drawn floor plan of the office of the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #636

Lebanon

Lebanon

►►Careless codeword may have cost CIA its Lebanon network. Hezbollah have reportedly just rolled up the CIA’s network of spies in Lebanon. If so, it’s because of one of the stupidest, least secure code words in history. According to ABC News, Hezbollah operatives figured out that CIA informants, who had infiltrated the Iranian proxy group, were meeting with their agency handlers at a Beirut Pizza Hut. How could Hezbollah deduce that location? “The CIA used the codeword ‘PIZZA’ when discussing where to meet with the agents,” ABC reports.
►►UK spy chiefs to be publicly questioned for first time. The heads of British intelligence agencies are set to be questioned for the first time in public, under plans to make spies more accountable. The directors of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ will face Parliamentarians on the Intelligence and Security Committee. Although, they have recently begun to make rare public appearances, and deliver speeches, it will be the first time the intelligence agency heads will face public cross-examination over their activities.
►►Documents reveal largest domestic spy operation in Canadian history. Police organizations across Canada co-operated to spy on community organizations and activists in what the Royal Canadian Mounted Police called one of the largest domestic intelligence operations in Canadian history, documents reveal. Information about the extensive police surveillance in advance of last year’s G8 and G20 meetings in southern Ontario comes from evidence presented in the case of 17 people accused of orchestrating street turmoil during the summits.

News you may have missed #0059

  • Torture report says UK government ministers shielded MI5, MI6. A new report from Britain’s parliamentary human rights committee accuses senior cabinet ministers of “hiding behind a wall of secrecy” to avoid being held to account over allegations of British intelligence agents’ collusion in torture.
  • US cyber czar resigns. Senior intelligence official Melissa Hathaway, who was US President Barack Obama’s choice to monitor America’s online security, said in an interview that she is leaving “for personal reasons”.
  • South Korean opposition skeptical of request for new intelligence powers. Opposition parties in South Korea are critical of the National Intelligence Service’s (NIS) recent request to gain access to information on financial transactions amounting to 20 million won or more without a warrant.

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News you may have missed #0058

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Al-Qaeda may have infiltrated Britain’s MI5, says lawmaker

Patrick Mercer

Patrick Mercer

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The chairperson of Britain’s House of Commons subcommittee on counter-terrorism has raised the possibility that MI5, the country’s premier domestic intelligence agency, has been infiltrated by al-Qaeda operatives. MP Patrick Mercer (Con.) revealed on Saturday that he had been told MI5 had expelled as many as six British Muslim recruits after red flags were raised about their backgrounds. He has since called upon Home Secretary Alan Johnson “to detail how far down the recruitment process the men had got before they were weeded out” by MI5 vetting officers. There are allegations that some of the six potential recruits had been trained in al-Qaeda-run camps in Pakistan, while others had “unexplained gaps in their curricula vitae”. No response has so far been issued by the British government, but The Daily Telegraph has quoted an “unnamed senior security source”, who has denied the allegations.