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Gerry Adams
"There are elements within the system that need to be brought to heel"
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David Eades reports for BBC News
"One step forwards is accompanied by one step back"
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The BBC's Graham McLagan reports
" The positioning of the device meant all conversations would be picked up"
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Thursday, 9 December, 1999, 09:34 GMT
Bugging harmed peace process - Adams
The "listening and tracking device"

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said the Northern Ireland peace process has been damaged following the alleged discovery of a bugging device in a car.

Mr Adams has demanded a meeting with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to express his concerns about the device which he said was planted in a car used to transport himself and education minister Martin McGuinness during the Mitchell Review.

It is also claimed the car was used to ferry the two to meetings with the IRA.
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Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Adams said he had already raised the matter with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and he repeated his assertion that the incident had damaged the peace process.

"It hasn't helped it - it certainly has harmed it, there's no doubt about that," he said.

Mr Adams described it was a "highly sophisticated listening and tracking device".

The controversy flared when the claims were made at a press conference at which Mr Adams, accompanied by Sinn Fein ministers, Martin McGuinness and Bairbre de Brun, had been scheduled to set out the party's programme for government.

The Sinn Fein party president said it was discovered during a routine search of the vehicle and demanded to know who was responsible.

"I think this is a hugely serious breach of faith," Mr Adams said. "I think it is the securicrat agenda once again coming to the surface."

Gerry Adams Gerry Adams: Dirty tricks
He said the people involved in these "dirty tricks" were clearly against the peace process.

Mr Adams said his suspicions were that people in the military establishment in Britain were behind the placing of the device.

He said it was a hugely serious breach of trust and he has made representations to 10 Downing Street and the Taoiseach's office.

He pointed out the only way this could be resolved was at the very highest level of the two leaders, the prime minister and the Taoiseach.

Mr Adams said the onus was now on the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to answer the questions he had posed about the device and to find out who was responsible.

"I feel shafted by the discovery of this," he told reporters.

Device 'built to specifications'

He claimed the device had been built to the specifications of the car and it had a digital tracking capability which could possibly have been picked up by satellite.

The device was "linear amplified" and had a built-in transmission aerial, according to Mr Adams.

He said a microphone had been built into the middle of the roof of the Mondeo and wiring ran along the skin of the car.

"This was done in such a way as to make it impossible for anyone carrying out repairs on the vehicle to find the device," he added.

Martin McGuinness: Also used the car
Sinn Fein chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, said he had "no idea" if the device could be obtained locally.

He added: "There can be no doubt whatsoever that this was placed by members of British military intelligence who are opposed to the peace process.

"This is a very serious undermining of the process that we have been involved in and I find it absolutely incredible that there are people in British Military Intelligence who would target Gerry Adams and myself in this way."

Mr McGuinness said his party would not be deflected from its support for the peace process but he said that "no one should be under any illusion" that the discovery of the device was a serious development.

Deputy first Minister of the Assembly, Seamus Mallon, called for a thorough investigation.

He said: "If it is established that it was done by whoever, then that person or persons should be made to answer for what is an absolute intrusion on not just personal privacy, but political privacy."

Speaking in the House of Commons Tony Blair refused to respond to demands for an investigation.

He said: "I never comment on security allegations, I don't intend to do so now."

A Northern Ireland Office spokesman said they did not comment on individual cases.

He added: "We have a long standing principle that it is not appropriate to discuss intelligence matters. All intelligence agencies act under the law and there is no question of them pursuing their own agenda.

"Any person aggrieved by anything which he believes the police or the security or intelligence services have done in relation to him or any property of his, has the right to complain to the appropriate authorities."
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See also:
08 Dec 99 |  UK
Who might have bugged Gerry Adams?
08 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
Loyalists to appoint arms go-betweens

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