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Monday, 28 February, 2000, 14:50 GMT
Shayler: I'm no traitor
David Shayler
David Shayler: "I love my country"
Former British spy David Shayler has insisted he is a patriot who has always acted out of love for his country.

In an e-mail to BBC News Online's Talking Point, he said he went public with his claims against MI5 after trying - and failing - to reform it from within.

The debate invited readers to air their views on whether he is a public-spirited whistleblower or a traitor putting national security at risk.

"I finally did what I did because I love my country

David Shayler
The former MI5 officer is being sued by the British Government for alleged breaches of confidence, contract and copyright laws on files held by MI5 and the UK overseas secret service, MI6.

"Could I contribute to this debate by saying I am a patriot," he writes from his base in exile in France.

"Criticising the intelligence services does not make me a traitor or an enemy of this country."

He said that though his actions he had "pointed out where public servants had broken the law", and added: "I finally did what I did because I love my country."

He came to public attention when he made a number of allegations about the secret services, including claims that they were involved in a plot to assassinate the Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.

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