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MI6 officers worked in Iraq as UN inspectors

from today's Independent:

MI6 officers worked in Iraq as UN inspectors

          MI6 officers worked under cover in Iraq as part
          of the United Nations teams of arms inspectors
          looking for chemical and biological weapons, an
          Independent investigation has revealed. The
          disclosure follows admissions that US spies had
          worked in the Unscom teams. 

          By Paul Lashmar and David Usborne in New

          Sources in Whitehall and at the UN in New York
          say MI6 first infiltrated the UN Weapons
          Inspectorate soon after it was set up in 1991. 

          "A number of officers were asked if they were
          interested in the posting. One officer joined for a
          period," said a source. Some officers are thought
          to have been rotated through the teams. 

          Norman Baker, a Liberal Democrat MP, has put
          down a series of questions for Robin Cook, the
          Foreign Secretary, and the Defence Secretary,
          George Robertson, due to be answered today, on
          whether British intelligence officers were involved
          in Unscom. 

          He said last night: "I would be very, very angry if
          the independence and integrity of the Unscom
          was compromised in this way. To include MI6
          and Ministry of Defence intelligence staff
          deliberately in the UN teams is to undermine the
          UN itself." 

          Unscom teams were recruited from many states,
          usually chosen for a specialisation in areas of
          nuclear, chemical and biological warfare and

          The inspectors found that Iraq had a far more
          elaborate concealment system than had been

          Unscom decided it needed to break the Iraqi wall
          of secrecy and turned to the intelligence
          communities of several countries, notably the US,
          Britain and Israel. They supplied Unscom with
          experts in espionage - that is, spies. 

          Earlier this month some American newspapers,
          citing anonymous US officials, reported that
          intelligence ostensibly gleaned by the weapons
          inspectors had been passed to Washington for its
          own use. Some of the information, they said, had
          been used to identify targets in last month's British
          and American attacks on Iraq. 

          Most controversial have been reports that the US
          supplied Unscom with an eavesdropping device
          to tap Iraqi officers' communications. Sources say
          the US demanded overall control of the machine
          and made sure all data received was shown only
          to experts from a narrow club of states. Explicitly
          barred were Israel, France and Russia. Those
          with full access reportedly came from just four
          countries: the US, Australia, New Zealand and

          British Unscom members were recruited by the
          Foreign Office, which said: "We don't comment
          on intelligence matters." But The Independent has
          established that the British group included
          intelligence officers, using diplomatic cover to
          gather intelligence independently. 

          Asked by The Independent for a list of British
          inspectors, the Foreign Office and Unscom both

          "We do not have the staff available to compile
          such a list," said the Unscom spokesman, Euan
          Dungannon, in New York. A Foreign Office
          spokesman said: "We do not have such a list." 

          A US F-15 fighter attacked an Iraqi missile
          installation in the northern no-fly zone yesterday.
          A Pentagon spokesman said the F-15 fired in
          self-defence after aircraft enforcing the no-fly
          zone were tracked by Iraqi radar. There was no
          damage to US aircraft, he said.

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