Ex-MI6 officer arrested over leaked lists of current agents.
From 0627 until 1030, they thoroughly searched my house and confiscated my main computer, my laptop, my Psion organiser, my mobile phone, the brand new laptop of a friend who had unfortunately left it at my house for a few days, all my legal documents concerning my long battle with MI6, all my CDs (including software CDs), all my photographs, my camera, several books, and numerous other small items. They left my house as tidy as it was before they came - not like the Italian Police.The lists themselves are still freely available on Cryptome, itself visited by the FBI on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, and Private Eye mentioned them earlier this year in connection with the allegations made by some Greek citizens that they were beaten in the presence of British intelligence officers, one of whom is alleged to be Nicholas Langham, the MI6 station chief in Athens at the time.
They then escorted me to my boat, and searched that. This really was a bit ridiculous - if I wanted to hide something on my boat, they would not find it in a week of searching - there are so many places to hide stuff in a sailing boat.
I was then taken for interview, and learnt for the first time the charges against me. Apparently, MI6 believe that I am responsible for publishing three lists of MI6 agents on the Internet. These allegedly first appeared on the newsgroup uk.politics.misc in 2005, and then appeared again on www.cryptome.org. The police allowed me to take notes from the interrogation sheet, though I was not allowed to keep a copy.
The three lists were posted on uk.politics,misc:
1. 1322 on 21 August 2005, by "John J", email email@example.com
2. 0930 on 27 August 2005, by "Todor Velichkov" firstname.lastname@example.org
3. 1024 on 13 October 2005, by "Alan Bond", email@example.com.
I have absolutely nothing to do with the publication of these lists. The British police would not let me see the lists to discuss in detail, but they agreed that the lists were genuine. This in itself is a fairly astonishing admission - the only people who can verify that the lists are genuine are the British authorities themselves. They obviously think that this is worth doing, if it gives them a chance to harass me and take all my computers from me, knowing what difficulty and expense this will cause me.
Anyway, I was questioned until about 2130, then formally released from "garde en vue" at about 2200.
Tomlinson deserves support, although whether he's done exactly what those making accusations against him wanted by now commenting on the lists and tracking them down himself is worrying.
Update: Both Richard Norton-Taylor, the Guardian's excellent security affairs correspondent and Tomlinson himself are now casting doubt on the veracity of the lists.
Personally, I am not sure at all that they are genuine. For example, at the bottom of the "John Jo" list there is a section entitled "HM Ambassadors", followed by a list of more names. Now as far as I can see, all of those names are genuine members of the Foreign Office and not at all members of MI6. When I was in MI6, no MI6 officer was ever promoted to the rank of Ambassador (except on one very rare exception). So unless the rules were changed radically after I left, then this seems very odd.