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Wednesday, November 18, 1998 Published at 16:21 GMT


Timeline - David Shayler's MI5 secrets

David Shayler said his motive to expose the MI5 was political

Former MI5 officer David Shayler has won his battle against extradition from France. He is charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act after going to the press in August.

24 August 1997
Mr Shayler first discloses information about MI5 activities to The Mail on Sunday.

Among his claims were that the intelligence service was paranoid about "reds under the bed" and that it had investigated Labour ministers Peter Mandelson, Jack Straw and Harriet Harman.

27 August
Home Secretary Jack Straw and MI5 decide to investigate Mr Shayler with a view to prosecuting him under the UK's Official Secrets Act.

30 August
The High Court issues an injunction to prevent The Mail on Sunday publishing further claims by Mr Shayler.

20 September
Mr Shayler's girlfriend and former MI5 agent Annie Machon arrives in Gatwick Airport on a flight from Barcelona and is arrested.

Miss Machon is questioned for six and a half hours by Special Branch officers and released on police bail.

2 November
The injunction is lifted and the Mail on Sunday publishes Mr Shayler's claims that MI5 failed to stop the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in London in 1994.

31 March 1998
The government says it will not prosecute Miss Machon.

19 June
Mr Shayler, by now in hiding in France, produces a dossier claiming "operational inefficiency" and "management malpractice" at MI5.

He does not publish it but tells The Spectator magazine that it includes evidence of how the 1993 IRA Bishopsgate bomb, which killed one person and caused £1bn of damage, could have been avoided.

19 July
Mr Shayler launches his own Website,, on which he says he will publish full details of his revelations.

1 August
Mr Shayler is arrested in a Paris hotel by French police within hours of threatening to reveal details of an MI5 plot to kill the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi.

3 October
The High Court rejects legal aid for Mr Shayler to fight his extradition to Britain.

21 October
In a 90-minute hearing in Paris, the French public prosecutor backs the government's extradition request, arguing that Mr Shayler could not claim political intent for exposing secrets.

He says Mr Shayler's motive was commercial because a Sunday newspaper had paid him for his story.

18 November
Mr Shayler wins his fight against extradition to Britain and is allowed to leave custody immediately.

French judges rule that his motive in exposing secrets did not amount to grounds for extradition.

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