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Sunday, 12 September, 1999, 23:15 GMT 00:15 UK
Shayler: I know two more spies
Shayler: Claims MI5's lack of action is to hide incompetence
Renegade MI5 officer David Shayler says he knows of at least two more secret agents who have not been prosecuted by the British authorities.

Following the exposure of two former Soviet agents at the weekend, Mr Shayler has gone public with his knowledge for the first time.

He told BBC News Online: "I know two people who haven't been mentioned yet. One was a trade union official, and one a crown servant."

According to Mr Shayler, the trade union leader was paid to pass defence secrets to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Mr Shayler said: "The union official was not tried for his betrayal of some of this country's most sensitive defence secrets and parliament was not told of the matter."

Hopes of a government deal

In the second case, said Mr Shayler, the crown servant admitted passing secrets to an Eastern Bloc country, but MI5 blew an attempted prosecution.

Shayler has threatened to go public on his website
"As the individual was never read their rights when interviewed by their management and MI5, the prosecution could not go ahead as the authorities had breached the legal procedure," he said.

"Again, this information was never made public," added Mr Shayler.

He suggested that MI5 let the person go rather then risk accusations of incompetence.

Mr Shayler, currently a fugitive in Paris, hopes that the government will grant him immunity from prosecution in return for the names of the individuals concerned.

The authorities want to prosecute Mr Shayler for breaking the Official Secrets Act in an interview he gave to the Mail on Sunday in 1997.

Mr Shayler threatened that if the government was not interested in such a deal, he would go public with the identities by publishing them on his website.

'Astonished' by Norwood's treatment

Mr Shayler said he was "astonished" that no action was taken against one of the spies revealed at the weekend, top KGB agent Melita Norwood, despite MI5 knowing of her activities since 1992.

Tom King: Parliamentary committee to investigate the recent revelations
He said this contrasted with the "persecution" of him by the authorities for attempts to blow the whistle on MI5 malpractice.

He put the MI5's motives down to embarrassment on both counts.

He claimed the service was vindictive against him because he had embarrassed it with his revelations. He also believes no action has been taken against Mrs Norwood because MI5 would have been embarrassed by the subsequent exposure of its incompetence.

"It would have shown they hadn't picked up on this woman and couldn't do their jobs properly," he said.

'Massive impact'

Mr Shayler believes that the weekend's revelations could have a major impact on the way security is conducted in the UK, and on his individual case.

He believes that parliament will demand much greater openness and accountability from the secret services.

And he hopes it could mean that the authorities bring him in from the cold and accept his view that the MI5 culture of secrecy often works against the public interest.

"If the government is not prepared to go forward with prosecutions of traitors it should also look leniently on public-spirited whistle-blowers like myself," he said.

"Perhaps I'll be home for Christmas."

Shayler: "MI5 allows traitors to go free while persecuting public-spirited whistleblowers like myself"
See also:

22 Jun 99 | UK
Behind the MI5 myth
12 Sep 99 | UK
Soviet spy inquiry
08 Feb 99 | UK Politics
A spy to spy on the spies
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